South Australia sets reopening date in new COVID Ready plan

The welcome to South Australia sign is seen on the border between the Northern Territory and South Australia on the Stuart Highway in the Australian outback

South Australia will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated domestic travellers and halve its quarantine requirements for international travellers from 23 November.

State Premier Steven Marshall revealed the highly anticipated rollout of South Australia’s COVID Ready plan on Tuesday and said the “vast majority” of the state’s restrictions would be eased once 90 per cent of its population over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated.

The state’s domestic border reopening coincides with the date it expects to reach the national 80 per cent vaccinated target, which is earlier than expected.

From 23 November, quarantine will only apply for domestic travellers for LGAs with community transmission and less than 80 per cent of its population fully vaccinated.

Vaccinated international travellers will have their quarantine period halved to seven days; however, unvaccinated arrivals will still need to complete 14 days of quarantine.

Masks will still be required for indoor public settings and current venue density requirements will remain in place.

Once the state reaches its 90 per cent target, borders will open for quarantine free travel to all fully vaccinated domestic and international arrivals, except for unvaccinated arrivals who will still be subject to 14 days in quarantine.

Restrictions on most activities will also be lifted, however, “high-risk” activities like visiting a nightclub and standing while consuming alcohol will only be available for fully vaccinated people.

Rodney Harrex, CEO of the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC), said the state’s vaccination rate is pegged to hit 90 per cent by the end of this year.

“As one of the first ‘COVID-free’ states to open to fully-vaccinated travellers in NSW and Victoria – our state’s key domestic markets – this is an opportunity for our industry,” he said.

“The SATC has been increasing our marketing activity into the eastern states as our state has worked to ramp up vaccination levels, and we will be doubling down on our efforts to get visitors booking trips over the coming weeks.

“With Christmas, the peak summer tourism period and our festival season not too far around the corner, the reopening to domestic tourism is a real opportunity for our state and one that we will take full advantage of.”

Australia’s overseas travel ban will lift on 1 November, with NSW and Victoria both promising to scrap quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from that date, and Tasmania joining them from 15 December.

Queensland will keep its quarantine requirements in place until 17 December, when international travellers who are fully vaccinated and have returned a negative test will be allowed to home quarantine. It will scrap quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers once its vaccine rate reaches 90 per cent, most likely in early 2022.

With most states now providing clear reopening dates, international airlines have begun announcing their resumption of Australian flights with a handful promising to return much earlier than expected.

Locally, Qantas has brought forward international flights from Melbourne in response to the state’s opening plan, with Melbourne to London flights kicking off from 6 November twice a week and Melbourne to Singapore resuming from 22 November with three services per week.

Both routes will increase their frequency to daily from 18 December.

The national carrier also recently brought forward its Sydney to London via Darwin route to 14 November.

Featured image source: iStock/Kolbz

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