Are there travel restrictions in Sydney?

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Highlights: New South Wales gears to reopen its borders to Victoria. Apart from this, all NSW travelers can now move freely to both Tasmania and Queensland as well. However, mandatory quarantine rules still apply for international travelers arriving in NSW to limit the spread of coronavirus. Get updated with the latest changes and guidelines imposed by the authorities before you decide to travel again.

Disclaimer: This blog is updated weekly to the best of our knowledge. For the latest travel advisories, we recommend checking the official government website.

Travel Restrictions in Sydney - An Overview

The travel restriction rule can differ based on which state or territory you decide to arrive in Australia. For New South Wales, it is now mandatory for all overseas travelers except for people arriving from New Zealand to quarantine mandatorily in a designated accommodation for a 14 day period.

Who Can Visit Sydney Now?

Transportation in Sydney - Restrictions

While there may not be a limit on the distance that a person may travel in NSW, it is still important that you follow the safety guidelines enforced by the authorities to avoid spreading of COVID-19.

  • At present, most metropolitan trams, buses and ferries across Australia are running to regular timetables. Note: Saturday timetables are followed by a few on weekdays.
  • Not all, but many airport connection buses have been temporarily suspended.
  • Many long-distance services are also running during regular timetables. However, many private operated services have limited their frequencies and some have been suspended entirely. Passengers are required to have the necessary authorisation documents to travel across borders.
  • All tourist-oriented services have been temporarily closed as well.
  • A minimum of 1.5 meters must be maintained at all times when commuting on public transportation.
  • It is highly recommended that you carry clean face masks at all times.

Eating out in Sydney - Restrictions

All cafes, restaurants, food and drink premises including pubs, clubs, casinos, microbreweries, and small bars must abide by the new COVID-19 guidelines introduced by the authorities which will help provide a safe visit for all guests.

  • Indoors, there cannot be more than 1 person per 4 square meters of usable space. Outdoors, there can be 1 guest per 2 square meters if the venue lets you enter with an electronic QR code.
  • Restaurants or bars can accept a group booking of up to 30 people and can be seated at the same table.
  • You can only consume alcoholic beverages if you’re a seated customer.
  • Major venues and events can have up to 300 guests. There can’t be more than 1 person per 4 square meters.
  • Corporate events can host a maximum of 300 people at any appropriate premises, restaurants included.
  • Dine-in customers must provide their name and phone number for contact tracing, if necessary.
  • Customers in NSW can use the Services NSW app to check-in with a QR code at participating businesses and venues making it a hassle-free experience to record contact tracing information.
  • Starting 23rd November 2020, all hospitality venues must ensure that guests enter by signing in with a QR code.
  • It is highly recommended that you wear masks at venues that you visit. Children under the age of 12 need not wear a face mask.

Sydney Travel Protocols

Everything you need to know about traveling to New South Wales, whether it be interstate or overseas.

  1. Starting 23rd November 2020, the NSW government will reopen its borders between NSW and Victoria allowing free movement between both the states.
  2. NSW travelers can enter Tasmania without the need to be quarantined.
  3. There are no more travel restrictions between Queensland and NSW. NSW residents will be able to enter Queensland providing:
    • You display a valid Queensland Border Declaration Pass
    • You have not traveled to any of the 32 Greater Sydney NSW Local Government Areas identified by the Queensland Government in the past 14 days.
  4. For international travelers who are travelling to Australia, you should complete the Australia Travel Declaration online at least 72 hours before your departure time. You may also need:
    • A valid visa to enter Australia
    • To submit an exception to Australia’s travel restrictions
    • Authority to enter Australian states or territories
  5. Green and red zones have been created ensuring a separation for passengers arriving on ‘quarantine-free’ flights, from others who are required to mandatorily quarantine 14 days upon arrival. You’ll be guided through the green zone if you travel on quarantine-free flight.

Quarantine Rules in Sydney

Australian states and territories have their own quarantine rules in place. At the moment strict border restrictions have been introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus. With the aim to protect the health of the Australian community, only limited flights are currently available.

  • All travellers arriving in Australia, including Australian citizens, must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility unless arriving on a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand.
  • People in quarantine who get tested for COVID-19 and the result is negative still need to remain in the quarantine period that starts on the day you arrive in NSW.
  • A strict permit system has now been introduced for flights from Victoria to NSW together with mandatory quarantine arrangements for NSW residents returning from Victoria.
  • Not following these rules is a criminal offence and individuals will be charged with heavy penalties.
  • For international travelers transiting through NSW: if your departure flight is between 8 to 72 hours after arrival flight, you will be taken to the quarantine accommodation to wait until your next departure flight. You will need to apply for an exemption here.
  • Whereas, if the waiting period is less than 8 hours, you can stay in the transit zone and will not require to apply for an exemption.
  • For travelers transiting through NSW to another location in Australia: other than New Zealand, you must go into a quarantine period before continuing your journey to a different state or territory. After this isolation period, you’re free to transit domestically and travel home. Note: Quarantine rules may vary for different states and territories as well.
  • The fee for quarantine is a fixed amount that contributes towards the overall costs of quarantine made by NSW Government. You will not be charged more if you're required to in isolation longer than 14 days.

Travellers from New Zealand:

  • Unless you have not been to a New Zealand COVID-19 hotspot region in the past 14 days, it is not mandatory for you to quarantine if you’re flying from New Zealand into NSW.
  • You may be required to undergo a health screening test at the airport.
  • You are given access to travel within NSW and the Northern Territory. For other states and territories, you should check their local requirements prior to travelling there.
  • Individuals arriving from New Zealand who are assessed by NSW Health showing unacceptable health risk of COVID-19 may be directed to enter quarantine or leave Australia.

Tips For Staying Safe in Sydney

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • It is highly recommended to no shake hands, hug, or kiss as greetings.
  • Seasonal flu shots are suggested to fight against the spread of coronavirus.
  • Frequently wash your hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Visiting vulnerable people, especially those who are in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants or people with compromised immune systems needed to be avoided.
  • Payment using debit and credit card is advised instead of cash. It is also recommended to make use of online and self-service transactions.
  • If you get any signs or symptoms, isolate yourself from others immediately and get tested as soon as possible.
  • Group gatherings must be avoided as much as possible.

COVID Travel Resources Sydney