International border closure causing headaches for regional NSW businesses ahead of Sydney tourism surge

| 13.10,21. 04:46 PM |

International border closure causing headaches for regional NSW businesses ahead of Sydney tourism surge

Travel between Greater Sydney and the rest of NSW could reopen by next Monday. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

With the barrier between Greater Sydney and regional New South Wales potentially dissolving as early as Monday, businesses in travel .destinations around the state are braced for a massive summer

When 80 per cent of eligible NSW residents are fully vaccinated - which could happen as soon as this weekend - the longstanding ban on travel out of Greater Sydney will be lifted.
Fully vaccinated people will be able to travel freely around the state, though "last resort" local lockdowns remain an option.

And from December 1, the unvaccinated will be able to join them.
But for many businesses that rely on tourism in NSW, the promise of a Sydney-powered surge is a mixed blessing.
Cobargo Hotel-Motel licensee David Allen said he wasn't worried about increased travel spreading COVID-19.

"I think we've just got get the state reopened," he told
Cobargo, in NSW's south, is in one of the most heavily vaccinated local government areas in the state.

"Our biggest issue is staff," Mr Allen said.
"Everybody is struggling for staff without the backpackers and visa holders and the overseas workforce that's normally here."
Premier Dominic Perrottet has indicated his eagerness to reopen the NSW international border, but at the moment, Mr Allen said, it remained a "huge issue".
"Without that workforce, I just don't have an answer," he said.
"People say, can't you pay more, can't you train people?
"But you can't pay a ghost. The people are just not here."

Mr Allen said it was not the worst problem to have, and that other businesses in town, which had been more starved of customers than his in the past year, would welcome an influx of tourists.
"The other thing is that our vaccination rates probably make us seem a safer destination than other holiday spots," he said.
But for the staff he does have, he said, it was going to be a very busy summer.
"We'll just have to deal with it," he said.
"Everybody's in the same boat."

Mr Perrottet today did not wholly commit to reopening travel between Sydney and the regions next week if 80 per cent vaccination was achieved this weekend.

At a press conference in Sydney, he told reporters cabinet and health experts would meet tomorrow to discuss any issues with the 80 per cent roadmap, and that an announcement would be forthcoming on Friday.


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