After months of lockdown, there’s finally some more good news for Melburnians! The lockdown is over, COVID-19 cases in Victoria are now extremely low, and Victorians will also soon be able to travel to NSW and the ACT once again.
From 12.01am on Monday 23 November 2020, border restrictions between NSW and Victoria will be lifted. Victorians will once again be freely able to cross the border into NSW without needing to fly to Sydney and quarantine in a hotel for two weeks. The ACT will also remove its requirement to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving from Victoria.
The reopening date is exactly two weeks after the Victorian government removes the “ring of steel” around Melbourne, allowing Melburnians to freely move within their own state.
“Unless there is something very extraordinary which occurs between the date that Premier Andrews allows Melburnians to move throughout Victoria and November 23, I don’t foresee us changing that date,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
The border between NSW and Victoria has been shut since early July.
There are currently no Australian states or territories allowing quarantine-free travel from Victoria, except Northern Territory which is allowing arrivals from regional Victoria (but not Melbourne). NSW and ACT will be the first to simultaneously open up again to all Victorians.
The state of Victoria, which has not accepted any international arrivals since July, could also resume accepting passengers from overseas before Christmas pending the outcome of an inquiry into the state’s hotel quarantine system.
Victorian flights to resume
Since Victoria went back into lockdown, airlines have been operating skeleton flight schedules to and from Melbourne. But with border restrictions easing, Qantas and Jetstar will add more than 250 flights per week back to its schedules from 23 November.
Qantas will increase its weekly return flights between Sydney and Melbourne from 5 to 75, and Jetstar’s Sydney-Melbourne flights will increase from 5 flights currently to 42 per week. Virgin Australia will increase its Melbourne-Sydney flights from 6 to 27 weekly return flights from 23 November.
Qantas will also resume Sydney-Bendigo and Sydney-Mildura flights. Meanwhile, Jetstar will resume Melbourne-Newcastle and Melbourne-Ballina flights as soon as the NSW/Victoria border reopens. (QantasLink is also planning to launch Adelaide-Mildura flights once the SA border opens to Victoria.)
Qantas Domestic & International CEO Andrew David described the border reopening as “fantastic news”.
“November 23 will be a day many people will now be looking forward to. It’s exciting for the family and friends who can finally be reunited after months apart,” Mr David said.
“It’s also great for businesses, and great for getting more of our planes in the air and more of our people back to work.”
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas Group reopens NSW / VIC, thousands of flights added