Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announces travel restrictions for Greater Sydney

New rules requiring people entering Tasmania from Greater Sydney will make it “very challenging” for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race to go ahead this year, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein says.

Mr Gutwein said Greater Sydney will be classed as “medium risk” from midnight on Saturday. Sydney’s Northern Beaches council area remains high risk.

“From tomorrow [Sunday], anyone who travels to Tasmania from the remainder of the Greater Sydney area, other than the Northern Beaches area, will have to quarantine for 14 days from arrival in Tasmania,” he said.

Affected people will be able to quarantine at home if they have a suitable residence.

“If not, you’ll be placed into government facilities at your cost,” Mr Gutwein said.

“If you’re going to quarantine in a suitable residence, other people in this residence who haven’t travelled with you … will not be required to quarantine at this stage, however, you must ensure that appropriate social distancing occurs.”

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Mr Gutwein said only Tasmanians returning home and approved essential workers could come to the state from the Northern Beaches.

“The remainder of New South Wales will remain as ‘low risk’ for now,” he said.

Mr Gutwein said it was unfortunate that the restrictions were coming into effect just before Christmas.

“But I make no apology for doing the right thing in terms of the health and safety of Tasmanians,” he said.

Yacht race in doubt

Mr Gutwein said Sydney to Hobart yacht race organisers had been in discussions with Tasmanian public health officials early on Saturday.

He said officials would speak further with the race organisers.

“It’s clear that these conditions would make it very challenging for the race to proceed, however, that is ultimately a decision that will be made by the race organisers.”

Testing times

Mr Gutwein said testing rates were increasing in Tasmania, partly in response to concerns about the Northern Beaches cluster.

The Hobart testing clinic at Princes Wharf No 1 was due to close on Sunday afternoon and move.

Mr Gutwein said that clinic would remain open until at least Tuesday. The new clinic, on the corner of Argyle and Melville streets in Hobart will open as planned on Monday.

He said both clinics would be for bookings only on Monday and Tuesday to cater for increased demand.

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