“Go home,” is the message to non-Tasmanian residents from the state’s Premier, Peter Gutwein.
The island state is effectively expelling non-residents who are not in self-isolation; they must leave all accommodation by 11.59pm Sunday and return interstate.
“Go home – I’m sorry to say that, but go home,” Mr Gutwein told visitors, via a press conference on Thursday morning.
“There will be some dislocation and difficult circumstances (from this edict) but I make no apology for working hard to keep Tasmanians safe.”
Foreshadowing further coronavirus support measures to take the total to $1 billion, Mr Gutwein said he was acting on the “best health advice” in ordering non-residents to quit all hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, Airbnb homes, campsites, boarding houses and caravan and camping parks by 11.59pm Sunday.
He rejected criticism from some hotel owners that this had been done without consultation or sufficient explanation.
“This isn’t a consultative process – it’s based on the best health information available,” he said. “I’m sorry for those businesses … but this is about taking the best health advice.”
The decision was particularly difficult for a state that was built on tourism, but was aimed at avoiding having any “non-essential presence”, with a hard lock-down still a possibility if people ignored current directions, he said.
Tasmania recorded a further six cases of the virus overnight to take its total to 42. However, all are linked directly or indirectly to international or cruise ship travel and there is so far “no evidence” of community transmission.
Mr Gutwein told mainlanders not to come to Tasmania. “If you do come you will be in self-isolation for 14 days,” he said.