Victorians making their way home by road after being in Sydney or the Central Coast face the prospect of being turned around and refused entry to their home state, unless they cross the border before midnight tonight.
At a press conference in Wodonga this afternoon, Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said 13 border checkpoints had already been set up by Victoria Police, with another 19 to be established by tomorrow.
He said all Victorians wanting to get home should do so quickly.
“Make sure you’ve applied for an exemption permit and make sure you hit the border before midnight on Monday,” he said.
“Any Victorians who return today into Victoria will need to get home, get tested and isolate for 14 days. I stress, that is an absolute requirement for us.”
But anyone who misses the midnight deadline faces the prospect of being turned around at the border.
“In terms of people arriving after midnight Monday, the very strong message is anyone, Victorian or otherwise, coming in from the Greater Sydney area or Central Coast area will not be able to enter the state,” he said.
“We are not offering mandatory hotel quarantine as an option.
“We are saying to you if you turn up at our land borders after midnight tonight you will not be able to enter Victoria. You will be turned around and asked to find alternative accommodation in NSW or wherever you’ve been.”
It marks an apparent shift in policy from Sunday’s announcement, when Mr Weimar and Premier Daniel Andrews said people who arrived from Tuesday onward would be forced to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine.
The Government’s frequently asked questions page for the new restrictions still stated on Monday afternoon: “If you don’t return to Victoria before 11:59pm Monday 21 December, you will be subject to 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine when you return to Victoria.”
But it did warn “the situation is changing rapidly, and you may not be able to return”.