Tightened restrictions for entry into NSW from Victoria

Effective from midnight (tonight) on 21 July 2020, the New South Wales Government has created a border zone, being a clearly defined region along the Murray River which will further restrict the entry into New South Wales from Victoria. These restrictions are provided for by the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Amendment Order 2020 (“the Amendment Order”), which amended the existing restrictions set out in the Public Health Order (COVID-19 Border Control) of 7th July 2020 (“PHO”).
The Amendment Order will result in existing border permits to expire from 11:59pm on 21 July 2020.  Businesses and persons will need to apply for a new permit from 4:00pm (today) on 21 July 2020 based on revised eligibility requirements. The applications for new permits are available through the Service NSW website at www.services.nsw.gov.au
The new restrictions mean that entry to NSW is permitted only if a person holds a current entry permit and they are authorised under the order. In essence, there will be only thee reasons permitting people to travel across the border – work, education, or healthcare. Specifically, the new restrictions mean that entry will only be granted if the person cannot work from home.
Businesses need to be aware that the entry permit is only valid for 14 days from the date of issue and applies to all borders, including land, air and sea.
The NSW Government have provided guidance for the updated restrictions here.
Border Zone Residents
A border zone resident who is a Victorian resident:

is authorised to enter and remain in NSW only for work, education or medical or health care and

must not travel to any part of NSW that is outside of the border zone and

must not enter NSW if they have travelled in Victoria outside the border zone within the previous 14 days.

A border zone resident who is a NSW resident must self isolate if they:   

travel within Victoria outside the border zone before re-entering NSW using the permit, or

entered Victoria other than for work, education or medical or health care.

To establish your eligibility as a border zone resident, use the border zone address check or refer to the border zone maps approved under the public health orders.
Self Isolation Restrictions
Under the new permit system, in addition to the current restrictions, border residents will be restricted in their reasons for travelling into the Victorian side of the border zone. If any person travels beyond the border zone into Victoria, they will now be required to self isolate upon return into NSW for fourteen (14) days.
Any other NSW resident who crosses the border into Victoria, or has been there in the last 14 days, will be required to self isolate for 14 days on return to NSW. A map of the border zone can be viewed at www.nsw.gov.au/news/restrictions-tightened-for-entry-to-nsw-from-victoria 
New Conditions
The conditions imposed on permits under the Amendment Order are being tightened. The new conditions requires:

A COVID Safe safety plan for people entering NSW for child access or care arrangements , and freight workers

Require critical service workers to self isolate when not providing critical services

Require people attending boarding school or university as either staff or students to self isolate for 14 days and obtain a negative swab before attending school

Restrict entry for medical or hospital services only where those services are not available in Victoria or cannot re accessed remotely

Prohibit seasonal workers coming from Victoria into NSW

Require any person who accompanies a person with a permit such as a dependant child to also comply with any condition on the permit, including self isolation.

What does this mean for my business
There are obvious questions which the new restrictions will pose. Questions around working from home arrangements, customer restrictions and self-isolation arrangements will need to be considered.
Customer restrictions
The amendment order prevents customers from accessing your business which will impact your businesses normal operations.

The MTA NSW recommends that businesses review any scheduled appointments with customers, in the coming weeks, and rearrange such appointments. 
Working from home arrangements
Businesses will need to consider which employees are in a position to work from home as the Amendment Order states that they are not eligible for a permit if they can work from home.

The MTA NSW confirms the arrangement to work from home must be only permitted if it is safe to do so and any working from home arrangement is agreed to in writing, on a temporary basis and subject to periodic reviews, in order to return the employee to the workplace where needed.

Workplace health and safety laws will mean that the home office will in effect become a workplace and business owners have an obligation to provide a safe workplace.
If a member requires any further assistance then please contact the Employment Relations Team at (02) 9016 9000 or email [email protected]
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