The NSW-Victoria border reopened 138 days after Premier Gladys Berejiklian slammed it to prevent the spread of COVID-19

The border officially opened at 12:00 noon this morning, 01:00 a.m., meaning people can now travel freely between the two states without quarantining themselves

The party took place at the Albury Wodonga checkpoint, with a DJ playing for the big countdown and the police booming their sirens as the clock struck midnight

Melbourne-based Fiona Snape was in Wodonga last night so she could hit the streets early this morning to pick up her 18 year old daughter from Canberra University

“I haven’t seen her since early July so it’s great to see her again and I’ll be picking her up and bringing her back to Melbourne for the vacation,” she said

The EconoLodge Border Gateway Motel was fully booked within hours of the border reopening announcement

“We have had nearly 150 reservations since the announcement for a 10 room motel in a small rural town that’s pretty phenomenal, ”said manager Duncan McLaren

“It feels good to have very crippling limitations after the last few months”

NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian yesterday admitted how difficult the closure had been for border communities and thanked them for their resilience

“This will be the last time in our lives that this border will be closed and we know that tomorrow morning after midnight it will be a whole new era for our two states”

Ms Berejiklian said she was more confident about the lifting of the border than when she called on Jan. November, as there would have been no local broadcasts on many days in both states

As of yesterday, Victoria had recorded 23 consecutive days with no community broadcast while NSW had recorded 15 days

The border between the two states has been closed since the 8th Closed on July after Melbourne was hit by a second wave of coronavirus cases in late June

Since then, only a few people have been allowed to cross the border, including some 11th grade students and 12 Class, farm workers, emergency seekers, and people allowed to cross for compassionate reasons

People who live within 50 kilometers of the border were also exempt from the hard border restriction under the so-called “border bubble”, which gave those who live and work on both sides relative freedom of movement. p>

It was reduced to only a 2.5-radius radius, but on Aug. Expanded to the original 50-kilometer radius again on September 9, after Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro visited border communities and learned of the disruptions they caused

Since July, more than 14000 NSW police officers from across the state monitored more than 27 checkpoints along the border

This equates to more than 100000 police shifts with around 500 officers per day at border checkpoints

They were from 1200 employees of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) as well as Transport for NSW employees and the Victoria Police supported

It was a big job: in Albury-Wodonga, up to 25000 traffic movements per day detected

According to NSW police, 80 percent of vehicle movements came from residents of border towns

Police issued 17 criminal charges (PINs) during the operation and seven charges related to border control orders

Nearly 800 traffic violations have been committed and more than 70 charges have been brought on a range of criminal offenses, including drug supply, gun possession and drink-driving

Ms. Berejiklian had long advocated open borders between states and territories amid the pandemic

However, the Prime Minister had to change direction when an unwittingly infected Victorian freight worker visited the Crossroads Hotel in western Sydney

The contagious Victorian who ran the hotel on Jan. Visited July ultimately resulted in a diagnosis of COVID-19 in at least 58 people in NSW

An 83-year-old man who has been linked to the Crossroads Hotel eruption was killed on Jan. August 52 Coronavirus death in NSW

Now, more than four months later, and in the absence of any Victorian or NSW COVID-19 cases, the hard line between the states has fallen

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Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-23/nsw-victoria-border-opens-today-after-four-month-covid-closure/12900992