COVID-19 coronavirus: Controlled interstate border - Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Guidance
Find answers to your questions about the WA controlled interstate border.

From 12.01am, Tuesday, December 8 2020 and subject to no further outbreaks, travel from Victoria and New South Wales will be classified as ‘very low risk’.

South Australia will remain a ‘medium risk’ jurisdiction until at least December 11.

For more information see the Travel from Victoria and New South Wales into WA announcement.


Last updated: 1 December 2020 at 8.30am

Changes to border arrangement with South Australia

On further advice from the WA Chief Health Officer, South Australia has moved from a ‘very low risk’ category to a ‘medium risk’ category. This is the highest rating of any other state or territory.

Given this emerging situation, Western Australia’s border with South Australia has been strengthened.

No one will be allowed into Western Australia if they have been in South Australia in the previous 14 days, unless they meet new exemption requirements. These requirements include:

  • certain senior Government Officials
  • certain active military personnel
  • a member of the Commonwealth Parliament
  • a person carrying out functions under a law of the Commonwealth
  • a person coming to WA at the request of the Chief Health Officer
  • certain specialists responsible for time critical maintenance where the skills are not available in WA. (excludes FIFO)
  • a person responsible for transport freight or logistics
  • anyone who has been given approval by the State Emergency Coordinator or an authorised officer (this category includes compassionate reasons).

Anyone seeking approval to enter WA who has been in South Australia in the previous 14 days will need to apply through G2G PASS.

For more information see the Controlled interstate border page.

Changes to border arrangements

What are the new border arrangements?

On Saturday, 14 November at 12.01am, Western Australia transitioned to a safe and sensible controlled border arrangement based on the latest public health advice.

The latest advice stipulates that if every state and territory in Australia continues to record a 14-day rolling average of less than 5 community cases of COVID-19, Western Australia can move to a controlled interstate border.

What is a controlled border arrangement?

Under WA’s new controlled border, the existing hard border exemption system will be removed and replaced with an updated nationwide health-based threshold that allows for safe travel into Western Australia from interstate with conditions, and subject to trigger points being met.

The Chief Health Officer has recommended a 14-day rolling average of less than 5 community cases per day in each state and territory (a standard that is currently being met in each jurisdiction) is required before progressing to the new border controls.

Very low risk states and territories (currently all Australian states and territories except New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria)

At this point, travellers who have only been in ‘very low risk’ states and territories in the 14 days prior to entry to Western Australia will be permitted to enter WA, and will not be required to quarantine or present for Day 11 testing.

Those travellers will need to complete a mandatory G2G PASS registration and declaration process (which will require them to make a declaration of where they have been) and be able to provide proof that they have completed that at the point of entry to Western Australia.

There will also be procedures in place for health screening of all travellers, including temperature checking at Perth Airport.

An Airport COVID Clinic is being established to undertake any required COVID-19 testing. Travellers can also request a test even if they are asymptomatic.

Low risk states and territories (currently New South Wales and Victoria)

Travellers who have been in ‘low risk’ states and territories in the last 14 days will still be permitted to enter WA but will be required to:

  • self-quarantine for 14 days in a suitable premises
  • must wear a mask if practicable and available from when travellers enter WA until they arrive at suitable self-quarantine premises or government approved quarantine facilities
  • present for a COVID-19 test on Day 11.

These travellers will be subject to the same G2G registration and health screening processes at Perth Airport as all other travellers.

The requirements imposed on travellers will be regularly reviewed and updated based on public health advice.

Medium risk states and territories (currently South Australia)

Travellers from “medium risk” states and territories will not be permitted to enter WA unless they meet new exemption requirements.

In most circumstances, the following conditions apply to travellers who meet the new exemption requirements and have an approved G2G PASS:

  • self-quarantine for 14 days in a suitable premises
  • must wear a mask if practicable and available from when travellers enter WA until they arrive at suitable self-quarantine premises or government approved quarantine facilities
  • present for a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and on Day 11 of their time in WA.

What defines a community case?

The Chief Health Officer has defined a community case as being from either an unknown source or where the infected contacts were not in quarantine.

What are the current risk categories for states and territories?

South Australia is currently deemed a “medium risk” state or territory. Travellers from “medium risk” states and territories are not permitted to enter WA unless they meet new exemption requirements.

The Chief Health Officer considers states and territories that have less than 5 community cases per day on a 14-day rolling average to be ‘low risk’. Currently New South Wales and Victoria are considered low risk jurisdictions.

The Chief Health Officer considers states and territories that have had no community cases for 28 days to be ‘very low risk’. Currently, the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Tasmania are considered very low risk.

Is this a travel bubble?

No. Travel is permitted into Western Australia from low risk and very low risk states and territories, however, strict conditions have been applied based on updated health advice and the level of risk in other jurisdictions.

Why is the hard border being removed when not all jurisdictions have gone 28 days without a community case?

The transition to a controlled border is based on health advice which is regularly reviewed and updated. The Chief Health Officer has established a nationwide health-based threshold that allows for safe travel into WA from interstate with conditions.

Jurisdictions that have not yet achieved 28 days with no community transmission have additional conditions in place, including 14 days of self-quarantine.

Jurisdictions that are considered medium risk are not permitted to enter WA unless they meet new exemption requirements.

Why is it safe to travel from very low risk states and territories now when it wasn’t last week?

The successful suppression of community spread in Victoria and New South Wales has informed the Chief Health Officer’s latest health advice. The latest health advice recommends a transition to a controlled interstate border regime, based on the current level of risk.

WA’s health advice is regularly reviewed and updated and changes are made accordingly.

At what point could the hard border be reintroduced?

The Chief Health Officer will continue to closely monitor community transmission in other states and territories and will advise the WA Government if any changes to our border are required to keep Western Australians protected.

When will NSW or Victoria be allowed to enter WA without the need to self-quarantine?

When the risk from these states is considered ‘very low’ by the Chief Health Officer or when they have not had community cases of COVID-19 in the past 28 days, easing of the restrictions on these states will be considered.

What happens if there’s an outbreak in WA?

If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in Western Australia, the WA Government has outbreak management plans in place to respond quickly and intervene early.

Planning is regularly reviewed and updated based on learnings from WA’s experiences and those of other jurisdictions both within Australia and overseas.

The WA Government has the capability to rapidly escalate WA’s contact tracing and testing capabilities as needed.

The WA Government has wide reaching communication networks and platforms in place to make sure all Western Australians are kept informed of the State’s health status and know what they need to do to keep safe.

Western Australians can help prevent or manage an outbreak by maintaining physical distancing where possible, practising good hygiene, staying at home if unwell and complying with COVID-Safe principles and the latest health advice.

Will this controlled border regime jeopardise the safety of Western Australians?

The decision to transition to a controlled border regime is based on the latest public health advice.

The Chief Health Officer will continue to review our border controls and safety measures to keep Western Australians safe. A G2G Pass declaration and registration, health screenings for arrivals at Perth Airport, COVID Safety Plans, COVID Event plans and the 2 square metre rule are just some of the measures being applied to protect Western Australians from an outbreak of COVID-19.

To further protect Western Australians, travellers from medium risk jurisdictions (currently South Australia) are not currently permitted to enter WA unless they meet new exemption requirements.

All Western Australians and visitors have a role to play in keeping WA safe.

By maintaining physical distancing where possible, practising good hygiene, staying at home if you’re unwell, and complying with the latest health advice you will be doing your bit to protect all Western Australians.

Information for WA residents

Does this mean I can travel interstate for a holiday?

Yes. Western Australians can travel interstate for a holiday, depending on the border restrictions of the state or territory they are travelling to.

However, the current advice to Western Australians based on the emerging situation in South Australia is to reconsider the need for interstate travel, as border arrangements are constantly being reviewed based on the risk levels of each state and territory. 

What happens if I book a ticket to fly interstate and the border arrangement change before I fly? Will I get a refund or travel credit for my flights and accommodation?

You will need to check with your airline and accommodation provider if they will provide a refund or travel credit.

The border arrangements are based on the latest public health advice and are in place to better protect Western Australians.

This arrangement will be regularly reviewed to take into account the health situation in other states and territories. Make sure you check the border arrangements prior to travelling, as health advice can change rapidly.

What happens if I am on holiday interstate and the border closes? Will I be able to re-enter WA?

WA remains in a State of Emergency due to the global pandemic and therefore the situation has potential to change rapidly. Western Australians should be prepared for this.

In the event that it becomes necessary to re-establish more restrictive border arrangements, the WA Government will provide for return entry to WA on a compassionate basis and conditional on necessary quarantine arrangements.

What happens if someone is caught lying on their declaration form?

Failure to follow lawful directions under the Emergency Management Act 2005, including those which implement the controlled border arrangements, may be enforceable by law. Penalties range from a $1,000 infringement to up to $50,000 for individuals.

What if I do not register to enter WA? Will I be refused entry?

Anyone planning to travel to WA must register to enter, and will be required at the point of entry to be able to confirm that they have completed the declaration and registration process.

If you do not register in advance, you will need to do so on arrival. This could result in a long delay.

If you are travelling to WA from a medium risk state or territory without an approved G2G PASS, you will be placed in hotel quarantine at your own expense until arrangements can be made for you to depart WA.

I’ll be travelling into WA in my caravan. What do I have to do at the WA border?

You should register your travel via a G2G Pass and complete the necessary declarations the same as travellers arriving by air. This registration will require you to declare which jurisdictions you have been in over the previous 14 days.

You will be met at the WA border checkpoint to ensure your travel is registered. You will also be subject to a health screening.

If you have spent time in the previous 14 days in a low risk state or territory, you will also be directed to self-quarantine and be tested for COVID-19 on Day 11 (if you’re still in WA).

What happens if there’s an outbreak in my state or territory before I travel to WA?

The Chief Health Officer will continue to closely monitor community transmission in other states and territories and will advise the WA Government if any changes to WA’s border are required to keep Western Australians protected.

If I am required to self-quarantine upon my arrival in WA, and the state or territory I am travelling from hits 28 days without a community case, will I be permitted to leave self-quarantine early?

No, you will be required to complete the full 14 days of self-quarantine.

What about travellers from New Zealand? If they transit through New South Wales, or the Northern Territory to WA, are they permitted to enter? Will they need to self-quarantine?

WA has not joined the travel bubble to allow for New Zealand travellers to visit Western Australia at this time. However, effective from 12.01am Saturday, October 31, exempt interstate arrivals who have spent time in New Zealand in the previous 14 days will be required to self-quarantine for 14-days at a suitable premises and present for a COVID-19 test on Day 11 in WA.

In addition to this, from November 14 when the controlled interstate border regime took effect, these travellers must also comply with the outlined conditions for low risk states.

These travellers are encouraged to download the G2G Now app, a tool that supports people subject to self-quarantine directions to prove their compliance with easy, in app check-ins to complement any physical checks by Police. See more information on G2G Now.

All international passengers arriving directly from overseas into WA will remain subject to 14 days of hotel quarantine at their own expense.

I have been in New Zealand and spent 14 days in a very low risk state or territory. Am I still required to self-quarantine when I come to WA if I come after the controlled border takes effect?

From 14 November, if you have spent the past 14 days in a ‘very low risk’ jurisdiction, you are not required to quarantine when you arrive in WA.

I have travelled from New Zealand to a very low risk state (TAS, QLD, ACT and NT) and will spend two days there before heading to WA. Am I required to quarantine when I arrive in WA?

Yes, if you have spent any time in New Zealand in the previous 14 days, you will be required to quarantine upon entry to WA. Therefore, if, after travelling from NZ, you have spent less than 14 days in a very low risk state or territory, you will be required to self-quarantine at a suitable premises and present for COVID-19 testing on day 11. If you do not have a suitable premises to self-quarantine, you will be required to quarantine at a WA hotel at your own expense.

I have travelled from New Zealand to a low risk state (NSW and VIC) and will spend two days there before heading to WA. Am I required to quarantine when I arrive in WA?

Yes, if you have spent any time in New Zealand or a low risk state or territory in the previous 14 days, you will be required to quarantine upon entry to WA. Therefore, if you have travelled from NZ to a low risk state (NSW and VIC) and are transiting from there to WA, you will be required to self-quarantine at a suitable premises. If you do not have a suitable premises to self-quarantine you will be required to quarantine at  a WA hotel at your own expense.

I have travelled from New Zealand to a very low risk state (TAS, QLD, ACT and NT) and have spent 14 days there before heading to WA. Am I required to quarantine when I arrive in WA?

No, if you have only spent time in a very low risk state or territory in the previous 14 days (i.e. you have not spent any time in New Zealand or a low risk state or territory), you will not be required to self-quarantine upon entry to WA. Therefore, if, since arriving from New Zealand, you have spent 14 days in a very low risk area, you will not be required to self-quarantine upon entry to WA.

I have travelled from New Zealand but have spent time in a medium risk jurisdiction (South Australia). Will I be permitted to enter WA?

Unless you meet the new exemption requirements for travellers from a medium risk state or territory, you will not be permitted to enter WA.

I have travelled directly from New Zealand to WA – what are the quarantine requirements?

If you’re coming directly from overseas (including New Zealand) to WA, you must quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at your own expense and will be subject to a mandatory COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and on day 12 of quarantine.

What is a suitable premises to self-quarantine?

A suitable premises is a location where you and those travelling with you can live for 14 days without putting others at risk. This means:

    • they are suitable for the person to reside in for a period ending fourteen (14) days
    • if the person is required to present for testing, they are close enough to a place where testing can occur in accordance with a direction to enable the person to comply with that direction; and
    • they enable the person quarantining there to have access to a bedroom, and preferably a bathroom, without the need to share them with any other person who is not also quarantining there; and
    • food and medication can be delivered to them as required without the need to come into contact with the person quarantining there.

If I am self-quarantining, am I permitted to leave at all during this time?

No. You must remain at the suitable premises at all times unless directed otherwise. You will receive information regarding your requirements under quarantine.

See more information on self-quarantine is available at the Healthy WA website.

If I am self-quarantining at a suitable premises, am I still required to present for testing on Day 11?

Yes, you are required to present for testing on Day 11.

Are there penalties if I breach self-quarantine requirements?

WA remains in a State of Emergency, and various restrictions are enforceable by fines of up to $50,000 for individuals and $250,000 for businesses. Police officers also have the power to issue $1,000 infringements.

I’ve already applied for a G2G Pass for travel in the near future. What should I do?

If you have applied to travel to WA in the near future and your application has been approved, you are not required to do anything further. Please do not re-apply or amend your application.

Police who meet you upon arrival in Western Australia will apply the new entry criteria.

If your application has not yet been approved or processed, please wait for the assessment determination to come back to you before you take further action.

Quarantine and isolation for interstate travellers

Will I be required to quarantine?

Quarantine requirements will vary based on where you have travelled over the past 14 days.

Interstate travellers who have only spent time in ‘very low risk’ jurisdictions will not be required to quarantine on arrival to WA or present for testing on Day 11. However, all interstate arrivals from these jurisdictions will need to meet other conditions.

Interstate travellers who have only spent time in a ‘low risk’ jurisdiction will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days at a suitable premises, wear a mask if practicable and available from when they enter WA until they arrive at suitable self-quarantine premises or government approved quarantine facilities and present for testing on Day 11.

Generally, travellers from ‘medium risk’ jurisdictions who meet new exemption requirements and have an approved G2G PASS must:

  • self-quarantine for 14 days at a suitable premises
  • wear a mask if practicable and available from when they enter WA until they arrive at suitable self-quarantine premises or government approved quarantine facilities
  • present for testing within 48 hours of arrival and on Day 11.

Travellers who are required to undertake self-quarantine are encouraged to download the G2G Now app, a tool that supports people subject to self-quarantine directions to prove their compliance with easy, in app check-ins rather than receiving physical checks by Police. See more information on G2G Now

I’m arriving into WA from an international location – am I able to travel freely without quarantining?

If you’re coming from overseas, you'll be subject to the Australian Government's mandatory 14 day quarantine period as part of the first Australian port of entry.

All international arrivals into WA must quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense and will be subject to a mandatory COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and on day 12 of quarantine.

What are the conditions placed on travellers coming to WA from a ‘very low risk’ jurisdiction?

Interstate travellers who have only spent time in ‘very low risk’ jurisdictions in the 14 days prior to entry to Western Australia will not be required to quarantine on arrival into WA or present for Day 11 testing.

They must, however, comply with conditions including:

  • Registration prior to travel via G2G Pass, with declaration stipulating they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and outlining which jurisdictions the traveller has been in over the previous 14 days.
  • Arrivals by land will be met at the border checkpoint, to ensure travel is registered.
  • Perth Airport arrivals to undergo a health screening, including a temperature test.
  • Be prepared to take a COVID-19 test at the new Perth Airport COVID Clinic, if displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

What are the conditions placed on travellers coming from a ‘low risk’ jurisdiction?

Travellers who have spent time in the past 14 days in a ‘low risk’ jurisdiction will be permitted to enter WA, however, they must:

  • self-quarantine for 14-days in a suitable premises
  • wear a mask if practicable and available from when they enter WA until they arrive at suitable self-quarantine premises or government approved quarantine facilities
  • present for a COVID-19 test on Day 11 (if they are still in WA).

As well as comply with conditions including:

  • registration prior to travel via G2G Pass, with declaration stipulating they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and which jurisdictions the traveller has been in over the previous 14 days
  • a health screening upon entry, including a temperature check at Perth Airport.
  • taking a COVID-19 test at the new Perth Airport COVID Clinic, if they fail the health screening and/or record a high temperature as determined by a health clinician

Arrivals by land will be met at the border checkpoint, to ensure travel is registered.

Travellers are encouraged to download the G2G Now app, a tool that supports people subject to self-quarantine directions to prove their compliance with easy, in app check-ins to complement any physical checks by Police. See more information on G2G Now

If I have been in a ‘low risk’ jurisdiction in the past 14 days, can I still be exempt from 14 days of self-quarantine?

In very limited circumstances, travellers who have been in a ‘low risk’ jurisdiction in the previous 14 days may be granted an exemption from self-quarantine or provided with modified quarantine requirements during their self-quarantine period. These modified requirements might require you to comply with additional conditions, such as wearing a mask while in public or self-quarantining while not working.

If I transit through a ‘low risk’ jurisdiction, will I need to self-quarantine on arrival?

Yes. Currently, if you travel via a low risk jurisdiction, including through a connecting flight, you will be required to self-quarantine on arrival. Only those travelling directly from very low risk jurisdictions (who have not spent any time in the previous 14 days in low risk jurisdictions) can enter WA without self-quarantining. 

If I transit through a ‘medium risk’ jurisdiction or knowingly come into contact with someone from a ‘medium risk’ jurisdiction, will I be permitted to enter WA? Will I need to self-quarantine upon arrival?

  • You will only be able to enter WA if you have obtained an exemption and an exempt traveller mustself-quarantine for 14-days in a suitable premises
  • wear a mask if practicable and available from when you enter WA until you arrive at suitable self-quarantine premises or government approved quarantine facilities
  • present for a COVID-19 test on Day 11 (if you are still in WA).

As well as comply with conditions including:

  • registration prior to travel via G2G Pass, with declaration stipulating you do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and which jurisdictions you have been in over the previous 14 days.
  • a health screening upon entry, including a temperature check at Perth Airport.
  • taking a COVID-19 test at the new Perth Airport COVID Clinic, if you fail the health screening and/or record a high temperature as determined by a health clinician

Arrivals by land will be met at the border checkpoint, to ensure travel is registered.

Does this controlled border arrangement change quarantine requirements for returned overseas travellers?

All overseas arrivals to Western Australia will remain subject to 14-days of hotel quarantine, at their own expense, regardless of the transition to the controlled interstate border.

Restrictions

Does this mean gathering restrictions will be reintroduced if the border is opened?

In Western Australia, we have kept the virus out, which has allowed life in WA to get back to a COVID normal faster than the eastern states, but it does mean we are more susceptible to a serious outbreak.

Currently, in WA we have the 2sqm rule in place, COVID Event Plans and COVID Safety Plans in place to ensure business and communities are doing their part to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. WA has come so far, so it’s more important than ever that we are not complacent.

An outbreak in our community would more than likely result in new restrictions being imposed. The WA Government will continue to review these arrangements to determine if and what COVID-safe solutions are appropriate in the future.

Is the 2 square metre rule still in place?

Yes. The 2 square metre rule is still in place. There are some modifications to the 2 square metre rule for theatres, concert halls, cinemas, comedy lounges and performing art centres with fixed seating.

The 2 square metre rule does remain for sectors and venues where there is a higher risk due to the close proximity and mixing of patrons within indoor spaces.

The WA Government will continue to review these restrictions to determine if COVID-safe solutions are possible in the future.

All Western Australians and businesses are strongly urged to maintain and embrace COVID-safe principles to keep the WA community safe.

Is travel now permitted to remote Aboriginal communities?

No. Restrictions on entry to remote Aboriginal communities remain in place to protect the health and wellbeing of those residents.

Advice for business

Should I update my COVID Safety Plan?

It is recommended businesses review and update their COVID Safety Plans prior to the controlled border coming into effect. This ensures COVID-19 risks continue to be mitigated in line with health advice, and safety requirements continue to be met.

Will the WA Government be introducing new requirements for businesses or venues?

The WA Government strongly encourages all local businesses and venues to update and maintain their COVID Safety Plans and embrace COVID-safe principles.

It will be consulting with industry and organisations to ensure mechanisms and contact registers are appropriate and can be enhanced if necessary.

This includes consideration of a QR registration system and the extension of the requirement for COVID Safety Plans to additional businesses. This will further enhance the current contact tracing mechanisms and will provide further support to WA’s outbreak management arrangements.

Health

What is involved in a health screening at the Perth Airport?

A health screening at Perth Airport involves a series of questions related to symptoms of COVID-19 and a temperature check.

What is involved in a health screening when arriving by land?

A health screening when arriving by land involves a series of questions related to symptoms of COVID-19.

I’ve arrived at Perth Airport from interstate and I don’t have any symptoms, can I be tested?

Yes. All interstate arrivals at Perth Airport can voluntarily undertake a COVID-19 test at the new Perth Airport COVID clinic.

If I am tested for COVID-19 upon entry to WA, how long will it take for my test results to come back?

If you have been tested at a COVID clinic, it will take between 2 and 3 days to be notified of your test results and you should self-isolate until your results are returned.

If you have been tested at a private pathology centre or GP clinic, please contact your GP practice or private pathology centre for information about when your test results will arrive.

Page reviewed 1 December 2020