This summer won’t be a complete write-off for influencers, beach bums, and those of us hoping to ~coincidentally~ bump into Zac Efron on the mean streets of Byron Bay, because Queenslanders will be allowed to visit northern NSW without quarantining as of next week.
From October 1, Queenslanders will be able to travel freely around Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes, while more than 150,000 people who live in these parts of NSW will also be able to apply for a border permit to visit Queensland more easily.
“There have been no cases in those border areas for quite some time […] there have been no cases north of Sydney for quite a while,” Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young told reporters.
“So it is safe to open up. The people that live on that border have a lot more to do with Queensland than they do with NSW.”
Chief Executive of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Daniel Gschwind, was understandably stoked.
“It’s a credit to our health professionals around Australia because we are miles ahead of the rest of the world and allow us to shape a recovery including tourism without delay,” he said.
He added that he hopes Byron Bay and surrounds become the first step in the entire border reopening when it’s safe to do so, which could be just weeks away.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that if NSW contact tracers are able to get on top of every single community transmission between now and next month, Queensland could open its border up to the whole state as soon as October 6.
If you’re looking for some hope, you’re in luck. Zero new coronavirus cases have been recorded in NSW in the past 24 hours, putting the state tentatively on track for having an open border to the north.
In the meantime, Sydneysiders (and everyone else in NSW… not sure what to call you lot other than New South Welshfolk) can also plod on up to Byron Bay.
So if you’re stuck down south, and you’ve got mates in Queensland, perhaps a weekend in Byron is in order? Just be sure to keep it COVID-safe.Image: Getty Images / Florent Rols | Instagram / @zacefron