October 15, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

New South Wales will end all forms of quarantine for fully vaccinated international travellers arriving in the state from November 1.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet made the announcement alongside the NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, this morning.

“There is no reason as to why people right across the world who are fully vaccinated should need to hotel quarantine or home quarantine for two weeks,” said Perrottet.

“Quarantine is a thing of the past. It will still exist at a much smaller [scale] for those people who are unvaccinated.”

From November 1, there will only be 210 hotel quarantine places per week for international arrivals who are unvaccinated. At its peak, NSW was accepting around 3,000 people into the state’s hotel quarantine system, which accounted for around half of all international arrivals to Australia.

With NSW intending to accept returning Australians and other international visitors from next month, Minister Ayres said the distinction between the citizenship of those wanting to come to Australia would be replaced by a distinction in vaccination status.

“There’s no delineation between Australian citizens and other citizens of countries around the world,” he said.

“The focal point here is the delineation between vaccination status – so vaccinated and unvaccinated.

“We will require the Commonwealth, like they do with visas, to ensure that a person is fully vaccinated.

“There’s no doubt that the Commonwealth will be able to do that with some countries faster than others and they’ll also be able to do that in conjunction with many airlines faster than others, so there will be some incremental staging that’s just brought about by the ability for the Commonwealth to verify vaccination status,” said Ayres.

International travellers will also be required to show evidence of a negative PCR test before entering NSW.

“This is going to be a boom for people coming back home and it’s going to be a boom for our tourism industry as we lead the nation out of this pandemic,” said Perrottet.

“We want tourists back into our state as quickly as possible. When Sydney and NSW go well, the country goes well. We want tourism back in our state and we’re going to deliver on that.

“By 1 November, we rejoin the world.”

Perrottet said there had been numerous discussions with the Federal Government about the state’s plans and that returning Australians would be “the first cab off the rank” in terms of priorities.

The Federal Government has yet to confirm that it will be relaxing border restrictions for those who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents to enter NSW. The plan to date had been centred around freer travel for Australians to enter and leave the country.

Today’s announcement has the potential to allow international events to restart in Sydney and across regional NSW, however most domestic borders remain closed to NSW at this stage.

This morning Perrottet also confirmed restrictions would ease further on Monday with the state expected to hit its 80 percent vaccination rate over the weekend but travel between Greater Sydney and the regions would be pushed back to November 1, on account of lower vaccination rates outside of the state’s capital.

Perrottet acknowledged the decision to delay regional travel would not sit well with everyone, but he believed it was the right one.

“Ultimately this decision will instil confidence in regional NSW and when we get through this two week period on 1 November vaccination rates there will be where they are in Sydney and we will be able to open up and keep people safe and get people back into work. That’s the focus and that’s the call the Government’s made.

“We make the decision that we believe is in the best interest of the state.

“I accept today for many people who want to travel to regional NSW, this will not be a popular one, but we’re here not to make popular decisions, we’re here to make the right decisions and I believe the decision that the cabinet came to yesterday…was the right one.

“Confidence is key,” he said, adding that confidence in Sydney was positive but in the regions it was negative.

“We need to drive confidence, not just in Sydney but in regional NSW as well.

“A strong health response leads to a strong economic, that’s good for people right across NSW.”

The state government will continue to support businesses in the regions with the JobSaver rate held at 30 percent of payroll until November 1.

From Monday, larger events will be allowed in Sydney, including ticketed, seated and fenced outdoor events for up to 3,000 people. The state will also be working with venues to establish capacities larger than 5,000 people, with COVID Safe plans based on the unqiue operating models of individual venues.