The NSW government is unable to say if or when it will lift stay-at-home restrictions for travelling Canberrans, leaving territorians in the dark as they attempt to make plans for Christmas and the end of the year.
While NSW unveiled plans to restart international travel and announced a roadmap to reopening, state authorities appear to have forgotten the capital in its virus roadmap planning.
The ACT government has been speaking to the cross-border commissioner James McTavish about possibilities, but has not been given a plan to lift restrictions on visitors from Canberra.
News Corp was also on Tuesday night reporting that the federal government was preparing to end international border closures soon as states began to approach critical vaccination rate thresholds.
While the ACT's lockdown remained on target to end on October 15, frustrated ACT businesses added their voices to calls for certainty amid ongoing confusion about the cross-border rules.
Victoria is also yet to respond for a request from information about COVID travel, and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr concedes Canberrans are unlikely to be able to visit Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia or Queensland in the coming months.
A spokesperson for the Queensland premier's office said chief health officer Jeannette Young would take note of public health indicators to make a decision about lifting travel restrictions as soon as possible, once lockdown ended for ACT on October 15.
A spokesperson for NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said whether travel to regional NSW would be permitted for vaccinated residents of the ACT post lockdown was a question for Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
Rules around travel between the two jurisdictions would be reviewed based on terms set by the ACT government, the spokesperson said.
MORE COVID-19 NEWS:
Canberra Business Chamber chief executive Graham Catt said it was critical for businesses to get clarity as soon as possible on the border arrangements between the ACT and nearby states as restrictions are eased.
"Part of the clarity that we're still trying to uncover is that question of what happens around us, particularly in regional NSW and just over the border in Queanbeyan and the Yass Valley," he said.
"That question of consistency between restrictions was a significant one, both in terms of the restrictions businesses operate under and what that means for them in terms of what a business can do in Canberra versus their counterpart just over the border."
Mr Catt said the issue of cross-border movement would become more important as the economy opened up, meaning supplies and workers would need to be able to cross into the ACT.
"The amount of movement between the territory and the surrounding regional areas is a critical part of doing business. We've got so many people looking after customers in the territory based in Queanbeyan or [who] are moving around the region," he said.
Mr Catt said indicative dates for border arrangements - like those released in the ACT's pathway from lockdown on Monday - would help businesses plan ahead.
"That's what's been so tough for businesses over the lockdown, not having that information to do much more than survive and wonder what's going to happen in the weeks ahead," he said.
The ACT government will consider an expansion of the regions covered by the standing exemption from October 15, as stated in its roadmap released this week.
The NSW government would like to see Braidwood, Cooma, Bombala and Goulburn included, a spokesman said.
"These inclusions would reinstate important connections within the region and allow people in these communities to better access the essential health services they need, and access work sites across the region," he said.
Despite the countdown to lockdown's end, ACT Health said travel advice had not changed.
"ACT residents should not be travelling to regional NSW," a spokesman said.
"There will be no immediate changes to travel advice once the lockdown ends on 15 October ... By 29 October our surrounding region will likely have achieved the 80 per cent vaccination threshold and this may enable less restrictive travel in our regions if the COVID-19 situation also allows."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: