Should travellers pay for quarantine hotel stay?
A family-of-four returning from overseas will have to pay $5000 for their hotel quarantine stay, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian telling travellers "it is only fair that they cover some of the costs".
The state government will start charging international travellers for their mandatory hotel accommodation from 12.01am this Saturday (July 18), with fees set at $3000 for adults and $500 for children aged over three.
The new costs will cover daily meals and accommodation. At the end of their 14-day lockdown, travellers will receive an invoice to pay within 30 days.
It comes as the state recorded five new cases yesterday, two of which were returned travellers.
Ms Berejiklian said mandatory hotel quarantine had been instrumental in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in NSW.
"NSW is the gateway to Australia, with more than 35,000 Australian citizens and permanent residents returning from overseas processed through our hotel quarantine system since 29 March 2020," she said.
"The NSW taxpayers have footed much of the bill so far, with more than $65 million spent on quarantine accommodation to house international travellers returning to Australia.
"Australian residents have been given plenty of time to return home - and we feel it is only fair that they cover some of the costs of their hotel accommodation."
Australian travellers who have purchased plane tickets before midnight tonight (July 12) will be excluded from the new fees.
The state government will continue to fund security, transport and logistics. Hardship arrangements will be available for travellers unable to pay.
Travellers will be automatically directed into hotel quarantine.
Stuart Ayres, the minister responsible for hotel quarantine, said housing large numbers of international travellers returning to Australia "posed a major logistical challenge, however it's one that has been successfully managed".
"Over the past few weeks, the majority of new COVID-19 cases in NSW have come from overseas travellers in hotel quarantine," Mr Ayres said.
"NSW Police, NSW Health officials and the accommodation industry will continue to work together to provide the nation's leading hotel quarantine system."
The new fees come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday that all states and territories would move towards charging people for the cost of mandatory quarantine, with the number of international arrivals to be slashed from this week.
Meanwhile, anyone who attended Casula's Crossroads hotel between July 3 and July 10 has been ordered to self isolate after an 18-year-old man who worked at the venue tested positive for COVID-19.
The self-isolation order is likely to impact a "large" number of people, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said, with 600 people having visited the hotel on July 3 alone.
Patrons who attended the Crossroads between July 3 - July 10 need to stay in isolation until 14 days since they last attended the venue even if they test negative for the virus.
"Even if you get a negative test that does not mean you are out of the woods, and hence we are asking that you isolate yourself for 14 days since you were last at the Crossroads Hotel," Dr Chant said.
"A negative test does not mean that you can breach self isolation."
The self-isolation order is a "precautionary recommendation," as NSW health seeks to find the source of the virus spread.
Authorities do not believe the 18-year-old staff member who has now tested positive was the original source of the infection that has seen two other patrons contract the disease.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said anyone breaching orders to self isolate would "absolutely" face a fine.
"If you've been asked to be in isolation and you breach those orders of course (you'd face a fine)," she said.
Originally published as Should travellers pay for quarantine hotel stay?