Residents of the Far South Coast will be excited to hear that travel to and from the ACT is now open to all surrounding NSW local government areas.
On Saturday, October 16, the ACT government announced significant changes to its border bubble to include all Eden-Monaro LGAs and to enable people to travel freely between the expanded areas.
Fully vaccinated Eden-Monaro residents can now enter Canberra without needing an exemption for any reason and, as the ACT is no longer on the NSW concerns notice, when people return to NSW from Canberra, they will not need to follow stay at home orders.
As per the latest NSW Health regulations, those not yet fully vaccinated can not leave their own LGA for holiday or recreation purposes.
Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain said the changes to the ACT border arrangements were a big win for Eden-Monaro.
"I've been working very closely with the ACT government for a number of months now to ensure that Eden-Monaro residents weren't unfairly disadvantaged based solely on where they lived," Ms McBain said.
"When the ACT government initially announced a small expansion of their border bubble, I was shocked that key parts of Eden-Monaro were missed off the list.
"I worked closely with the ACT government and I am pleased that this advocacy has paid off, and now all Eden-Monaro LGAs are included in the new bubble."
Quarantine-free travel between ACT and NSW will be expanded to all NSW, including Greater Sydney, from November 1, the same day Greater Sydney is reopened up to the regions.
Meanwhile, non-essential retail in the capital will be able to open doors from Friday, October 22, but with strict density of customer limits to apply.
The news will come as a great relief to many, not merely for the shopping experience, but for reuniting with family and for the return of Canberrans to the coastal tourism and accommodation providers.
"For weeks I have been calling on both the ACT and NSW Governments to make the rules and restrictions for our border communities as easy to follow as possible," Ms McBain said.
"People in Eden-Monaro are sick of having to navigate complicated and confusing border arrangements, so I am pleased that both governments have made changes that will help things get back to normal.
"This means families and friends who have been kept apart by these border restrictions can finally reunite. I know of a number of Eden-Monaro residents who are now going to be able to see their newly born grandchildren for the first time.
"Allowing double dose vaccinated people from Canberra to travel to our regions will also be a huge boost to our local businesses which have been doing it really tough for a long time now.
"It is my hope that these border changes will reinvigorate tourism in our regional areas, and help our communities start on the road to recovery from this ongoing pandemic."