To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Queensland Government is implementing restricted entry to Queensland from 12:01am on Thursday, 26 March 2020. These restrictions provide for the continuation of essential goods and services for Queenslanders.

Queensland also allows a general compassionate grounds exemption, as well as specific exemptions for those living outside of Queensland who:


  • Are required to comply with the law to travel to Queensland  (for example, Family Court, parole/bail conditions etc.).

Interstate arrival restrictions

Anyone who arrives in Queensland (via air, sea, rail or road) from another State or Territory from 26 March 2020 must self-quarantine for 14 days, unless they are an “exempt person”. Even if a person is an exempt person, they must self-quarantine if they have travelled in the last 14 days to particular areas of Australia, which will be decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Health website.

Queensland Residents

This requirement to self-quarantine if you have been to a hotspot also applies to Queensland residents returning to Queensland. If you are a Queensland resident returning from any other place in Australia that is not a declared ‘COVID19 hotspot’ you do not have to enter self-quarantine.

International arrivals

A person is also required to self-quarantine if they have been outside the border of Australia in the last 14 days, and the exemptions do not apply in any circumstances.

Who is exempt from the requirement to enter quarantine for 14 days?

Those living outside of Queensland who provide critical services to Queensland:

  • National/state security
  • Essential health services
  • Emergency services
  • Transport of goods or freight including food
  • Critical maintenance/repair to critical infrastructure in Queensland
  • Construction, mining/energy/agribusinesses (and see below for specific requirements for FIFO workers in these sectors)
  • Federal, state or local government workers who are required to enter to Queensland to perform official duties.

Queensland also allows a general compassionate grounds exemption, as well as specific exemptions for those living outside of Queensland who:

  • Are carers/relatives of dependant individuals in Queensland
  • Need to obtain essential medical treatment including visiting terminally ill relatives in Queensland
  • Are interstate boarding school students where school is closed
  • Are required to comply with the law to travel to Queensland (for example, Family Court, parole/bail conditions etc.).

Exemption for border communities: To reflect the unique nature of our border, we have introduced another exemption that allows people who live near the border of Queensland, NSW, SA or the NT who ordinarily work in Queensland to continue to travel for that work or study. This is not restricted to working relating to essential services. This also applies for Queensland residents who travel to NSW, SA or the NT for work or education.

The exemption only applies if the person does not propose to stay in Queensland for longer than reasonably necessary to attend work.

The exemption also applies when people living in these border communities travel interstate to obtain essential goods and services, including to attend school or child care or obtain medical or other essential services.

Exemption for FIFO workers 

FIFO workers in construction, commercial fishing, forestry, mining, petroleum, energy or agribusiness industries are still allowed to enter Queensland to work without having to undertake self-quarantine.

However, they will be required to provide evidence that they are FIFO workers, who they are working for, and that they are entering Qld to go directly to work.

The companies they work for in Queensland will also have to provide a health plan that complies with requirements set by the Chief Health Officer that ensures adequate hygiene and safety requirements to limit the transmission of COVID19.

For Queensland residents who perform FIFO work for a company interstate, that company does not have to comply with a health plan set by Chief Health Officer. However if the FIFO work is in a hotspot declared by Chief Health Officer, the person must self-quarantine on return to Queensland.

How will the measures be enforced?

Queensland police and other emergency officers under the Public Health Act 2005 will be responsible for enforcing the measures. Other Commonwealth officers may also be involved.

Specific processes apply for those entering Queensland through airports, who will be required to provide certain information including:

  • Personal and contact details
  • The address where they intend to stay in Queensland
  • Information about where they have travelled in the last 30 days.

Enforcement officers will also be monitoring the rail and sea ports, as well as roads.

If a person is not exempt from the quarantine requirements but still wants to enter Queensland, the enforcement officers will give them a direction that requires them to stay in a stated place, restrict their movements, restrict contact with others or other directions as deemed necessary for the 14 day period of quarantine.

If a person fails to comply with the direction/s, an emergency officer may use reasonable force to enforce the direction.

If the person does not comply with the quarantine directions, penalties can also apply: $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations. It is possible the enforcement officer can issue on the spot tickets for lesser amounts ($1334.50 for individuals, or $6,672.50 for corporations).

Why has Queensland adopted these measures?

With the increasing importance of restricting the spread of the virus, it is critical that we implement further measures that will restrict travel.

This is not about absolute border closures – we want to ensure essential food and supplies and services continue to be able to come into Queensland.

Will freight and equipment be able to cross the border into Queensland?

Freight and logistics for any goods into Queensland from interstate is still permitted, including retail goods for pharmacies, grocery stores and petrol stations, on the condition that the person must practise social distancing wherever possible, including maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres where reasonably practicable and remain isolated in their vehicle or accommodation.

Are people living in cross-border communities banned from crossing the border? (e.g. between Coolangatta and Tweed Heads)

No. Residents should follow the clear advice to minimise movement however people are not banned from accessing local essential services, and continue to travel for any kind of employment

Can people cross the border who live on one side (NSW) and work on the other side (Queensland)?

The restrictions still allow people to undertake essential travel between their residence and place of work. This should be limited or minimised due to the need to reduce travel as much as possible. This also applies for people who live in Queensland, and work in NSW.

Will the Gold Coast Airport remain open?

Yes, but the restrictions will apply to all arrivals, and there will be very limited services operating.

Can local people visit a shop (across the border) to purchase essential items?

Yes, people can for example travel from Rainbow Bay to visit their local shop in South Tweed to buy essential items such as food. Travelling across the border to buy non-essential items is not allowed.

What are other jurisdictions doing?

Queensland’s restrictions are broadly similar to other jurisdictions, except that Queensland allows people living in cross border communities to travel interstate for work without having to self-quarantine, but only for as long as that work requires them to do this. They can also obtain essential food/services by travelling across the border.

Border restrictions have been introduced in NT, SA and WA.

NSW and Victoria have indicated they will not be restricting their borders.

A copy of the factsheet can be located here

Article: Qld Government Newsroom