Border opens up (for now)

Smooth sailing: There's no-one left to check your border pass when you drive into Queensland at Wallangarra.
Smooth sailing: There's no-one left to check your border pass when you drive into Queensland at Wallangarra.

Those 'slipping up' to Stanthorpe and beyond for shopping, medical appointments and more no longer have to check if their border pass has expired, because there's no-one to check them.

Border officers were packing up their scanners and hand soap at Wallangarra on Monday afternoon in preparation for dismantling the checkpoint.

On Tuesday the border had returned to normal with no sign there had ever been a checkpoint. The cement barriers blocking access into Queensland through the Wallangarra/Jennings railway precinct had also been removed.

The move comes as a relief to many Jennings residents who needed to pass the checkpoint just to collect their mail and to go to their local corner store.

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It's also hot on the heels of 'streamlining' of the border pass application process that warned that passes could take up to three business days to appear, although in actuality it was generally hours if not minutes.

Ultimately the system was in use for only a week or so before the need for a pass was abolished altogether, as long as you're not from a hot spot and at least until the next COVID-19 outbreak.

Residents of Victoria and Greater Sydney -- previously declared hot spots -- can now enter Queensland without the need for quarantine.

Travellers from some parts of Sydney have been restricted from entering Queensland since mid-July, with Greater Sydney barred since August 1. Victorians have had an even longer wait to enter the Sunshine State.

The decision comes after both states met Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young's criteria of 28 days without untraceable community transmission.

The Queensland jury is still out on South Australia. The border is currently 'closed' to those coming from Adelaide (unless they have an exemption) after the city was declared a coronavirus hotspot.

Despite the removal of the checkpoint Queensland Police will be doing random checks at entry points for compliance. Those caught doing the wrong thing are liable for an on-the-spot fine of $4,003, a court-imposed penalty of up to $13,345 or six months' imprisonment.

It's all good news for Tenterfield tourism and hospitality outlets, with the New England and Bruxner Highways expected to see a lot more traffic as delayed 'round-Australia trips get underway and the holiday season looms.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said tougher border restrictions would again be considered, however, if there was another major outbreak.