Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein has announced a u-turn on the state’s planned travel bubble with select states citing rising alarm over a second wave of Covid-19 infections on the mainland.
Travel between South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory was due to begin on Friday, but now Tasmania will keep its borders closed until at least the end of August.
“Our borders have stood us in good stead and it’s important now that we ensure that while the difficulties that Victoria are facing and other parts of the country, that we remain vigilant, that we remain strong and that importantly we ensure that we do whatever we can to keep Tasmanians safe through this,” he said.
“It’s important as we look to what’s appearing over our borders, that we do whatever we can to stay in front of this to ensure that we keep our communities safe, that we keep our communities secure.
“The last thing that we want is they have to introduce restrictions such as what South Australia have done today — to go backwards from two square meters to four square metres, to reduce the number of people who can meet at someone’s home.”
The latest announcement will be unwelcome news for the local tourism sector.
Tourism Industry Council Tasmania CEO Luke Martin said the industry had been banking on a gradual reintroduction of interstate travel with other COVID-safe states.
“The government needs to be clear about its strategy going forward,” he told The Mercury.
“If we are adopting a no risk or eradication strategy for Tasmania, we should talk openly about it, and the implications for our economy and community.”