NSW residents will be able to head to the state's regions for holidays in less than a fortnight under a relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday announced recreational regional travel within the state will be allowed again from June 1.
Under current NSW public health orders, regional travel for holidays is banned.
Queensland has flagged border closures with southern states could remain until at least September due to the coronavirus pandemic, prompting despair from tourism groups.
"Even if some states don't let us travel there we'll invite the other states here," Ms Berejiklian told The Daily Telegraph.
"If people are spending their dollars locally that has huge opportunities for us. The key is keeping people in jobs."
‘Won’t be a holiday like before’
However, the state’s premier warned any holidays taken within NSW must be approached cautiously, with all travellers adhering to current social distancing laws.
“Please know it won't be a holiday like before. We still have to exercise social distancing... please be extremely careful,” she told Channel Nine’s Today show on Wednesday morning.
Ms Berejiklian stressed it was vital those travelling plan ahead and ensure they have bookings for all parts of their trips.
The move from NSW is in stark contrast to Queensland, where the tourism industry is suffering badly from not only border closures but restricted internal travel.
“With zero income for the last couple of months, effectively, that is a huge blow to not just the businesses but to the communities across Queensland which depend on it,” Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind told the Today show.
“The sooner we can get going, the better.”
During her press conference Ms Berejiklian said she wanted the people of the state to enjoy “extra freedoms” but to take care.
“Nothing we do is the same during a pandemic.”
Ms Berejiklian added that NSW will be open for people from other states, saying that's “best for NSW and Australia”.
He said despite Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk suggesting the border won’t open until September, Mr Gschwind was hopeful a decision may be made by July.
NSW on Tuesday recorded its 49th COVID-19 death, a 93-year-old female resident at the Newmarch House nursing home.
The elderly woman's death is the 19th at the Anglicare-run facility in western Sydney and takes the national death toll to 100.
‘Christmas has come early’
Deputy Premier John Barilaro has described the announcement as an early Christmas, 7News reports.
“I said back in March that you weren’t welcome and we’ll see you around Christmas.
“Well, Christmas has come early and that first shout was on me.”
He said regional communities were struggling and would welcome an influx of visitors to boost the economy, particularly with the June long weekend coming up.
Ms Berejiklian said: “This is the day we’ve all been looking forward to since the COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in place earlier this year and I would like to thank everyone for their patience during the past few months of being cooped up at home”.
NSW schools to return full-time
Meanwhile, NSW public schools will return to the classroom full time on Monday, two months after restrictions forced around 800,000 children to study remotely.
Some independent and Catholic schools will also return full-time on Monday while others are working towards7 a June 1 return date.
Assemblies and excursions will remain off the table, non-essential school visitors will be banned and parents have been warned not to linger at the school gate.
Principals will be in charge of ensuring pick-up and drop-off protocols, as well as recess and lunch rules, adhere to social distancing requirements.
Face-to-face learning resumed across NSW last week for Year 12 students at state and independent schools, but only for an average of three to four days a week. Other year groups were allowed to return once a week.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell says from next week, the pandemic would not be considered an adequate excuse to keep children at home.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the union had not been consulted before the government's decision to return to full-time schooling.
He said teachers had already planned for the previously announced staggered return to school, with face-to-face learning gradually scaled up throughout Term 2.
NSW reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday from about 5300 tests, with five people in intensive care.
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