The Northern Territory and Victoria will be easing restrictions in June, with the territory encouraging intrastate travel and Victorians allowed to go camping.
Chief Minister for the Northern Territory, Michael Gunner, said in a Facebook post that biosecurity zones will be lifted on 5 June, following consultation with land councils, traditional owners, custodians and elders.
“We can lift our biosecurity zones safely because of our strict border controls. It’s been weeks since we’ve had a new case, and Territorians are doing the right thing,” Gunner said.
“I know it hasn’t been easy, but soon, Territorians will be able to move freely between communities and come into town and return home again without having to quarantine.”
Borders between Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia will remain closed, according to Gunner, and physical distancing and hygiene protocols will still apply.
The territory has launched a tourism campaign to coincide with the easing of restrictions to encourage Territorians to explore their own state.
“Over the last few months, we’ve sacrificed a lot to keep Territorians safe,” Minister for Tourism Lauren Moss said.
“We’ve looked out for each other, and now we need to keep looking out for each other by experiencing as much of our own backyard as we can.
“Following yesterday’s announcement that biosecurity restrictions will be removed from 5 June, we are encouraging locals to begin planning experiences like a fishing charter, a water cruise, a cultural experience or an overnight stay, which are crucial to supporting our tourism sector.
“Whether it’s a wildlife experience, a scenic flight, a luxury staycation in a local hotel, or a cultural tour, now is a great time to live like a tourist, experience this wonderful region and support your mates.”
The campaign is in partnership with regional tourism organisations, Tourism Top End and Tourism Central Australia, who the NT government said are best placed to provide advice on experiences that Territorians may not be aware of and that they can book in their local area.
It aims to encourage locals to support their mates, their neighbours and their relatives who work in the tourism sector, which has been globally impacted as a result of COVID-19.
This intra-Territory campaign is the first step in a planned marketing approach which will be launched in stages as further restrictions are eased, enabling tourism businesses to sustainably start to open their doors, with the next steps being to build tourism demand across the country, ensuring that the Territory’s tourism industry can rebound strongly as soon as it is safe to allow more interstate visitors.
Meanwhile, the Victorian government announced that camping and tourism accommodation will be allowed as of 1 June, as long as no shared facilities are used.
Restaurants, cafes and pubs will also be allowed to serve meals for up to 20 patrons per space, however, Victorians will have to order food if they want to drink alcohol.
Gatherings will also increase to 20 people per household, including those who live there, with public gatherings, both indoor and outdoor also increasing to 20 people.
“In good news for those itching to pitch their tent, this [overnight stays] will also apply to campgrounds and caravan parks – but not with communal facilities like kitchens or bathrooms so we can stay safe,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“The whole way through this pandemic, our advice to Victorians has remained the same: stay home.
“Now, as we begin to settle into a new normal, our message is ‘stay safe’. That means maintaining your physical distance [and] using common sense.”
The positive news comes after NSW, Western Australia and Queensland traded barbs over coronavirus border closures.
Featured image: iStock/crbellette