Deniliquin Pastoral Times

We’re back in the border bubble

- Life is quickly returning to COVIDnorma­l for Edward River Council, after the Victorian Government reinstated its border bubble status yesterday.

In releasing its roadmap out of lockdown on Sunday, the Victorian Government said all NSW extreme risk zones would be downgraded to red zones.

The new rules means border residents no longer need an essential reason or permit to cross into Victoria as long as they have not travelled to an extreme risk zone in the last 14 days.

Residents only need to show their proof of residence in the bubble area, such as a driver’s license, to cross the border.

Local officials and organisati­ons — including NSW Member for Murray Helen Dalton, Murray Regional Tourism, the NSW Cross Border Commission­er and Edward River Council — have been lobbying for the council area’s return to the bubble since it was removed earlier in the month.

ERC Mayor Norm Brennan said it was ‘‘surprising, but a very pleasant surprise’’, when he heard the news on Sunday.

‘‘We’ll go back (to COVID-normal) but I think one of the key things we’ve got to keep emphasisin­g is we’ve got to get our vaccinatio­n rates up,’’ he said.

He warned that individual­s would lose freedoms later this year according to the NSW Government’s roadmap out of lockdowns if citizens are not fully vaccinated against COVID.

‘‘If you’re double vaccinated you can sit at the pub and have a meal,’’ Cr Brennan said.

At 10am yesterday morning, the Victorian Government had not updated its website to reflect the re-inclusion, however the state’s Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes and the office for NSW Member for Murray Helen Dalton confirmed the change.

Mrs Dalton requested the change be reflected on the website to give ERC residents confidence in travelling across the border.

Deniliquin Local Health Advisory Committee has urged ERC residents be cautious until the changes are reflected on official channels.

Edward River Council was removed from Victoria’s bubble on September 3 without explanatio­n, along with seven other Victorian and NSW councils.

The City of Albury is still classified an Extreme Risk Zone, so those who live in or have travelled to Albury can not enter Victoria.

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