Happy families reunite at airports as COVID-19 border rules ease in Queensland

Excited families have been reunited across Queensland airports as COVID-19 restrictions ease into the state, but others waiting to cross the border are still locked out, saying they are at “the end of their tethering” “.

People from interstate COVID-19 hotspots can now enter Queensland if they have been vaccinated twice, can give a negative COVID result within the last 72 hours, apply for a border passport and home quarantine at an address no longer than two hours from the airport they landed at.

Gold Coast resident Jacky Dennie waited at Brisbane Airport for her husband of 14 years.

He has been living on an Airbnb in Sydney for five months after being caught by local lockdowns.

Dennie said it was the longest time the couple had been apart.

“I’m happy to have him at home and it’s my birthday tomorrow … so this is the best gift I’ve ever asked for,” she said.

Her husband Steve Dennie said he was happy to be home.

Steve and Jacky Dennie reunite at Brisbane Airport on November 16, 2021
The couple Steve and Jacky Dennie reunite at Brisbane Airport after Queensland COVID-19 border changes.(ABC News)

“But it’s taken so long and the reasons why are not fair – it’s not fair to keep families separate,” he said.

“We are all supposed to be Queenslanders, all Australians, but we are not.

The airport today witnessed an outflow of love and emotion, but also frustration.

Bijay Thapa arrived in Brisbane from a flight from Sydney today.

Bijay Thapa hugs his wife at Brisbane Airport.
Bijay Thapa hugs his wife at Brisbane Airport after being separated for four months.(ABC News: Rachel McGhee)

It is four months since he saw his wife when Mr Thapa had to return to Nepal when his mother died of COVID-19 earlier this year.

They were also reunited this morning.

.Bijay Thapa hugs his wife at Brisbane Airport
It’s been four months since Bijay Thapa saw his wife.(ABC News)

Gemma Scott bought a house on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in August.

Today she returned from Melbourne via Sydney with her family.

The family was to reach an approved taxi to their new home on the Sunshine Coast.

Gemma Scott and family at Brisbane Airport.
Gemma Scott bought a house on the Sunshine Coast in August, but could only return from Melbourne today.(ABC News: Rachel McGhee)

‘The end of their tethering’

While the reopening was good news for people flying to Queensland, others did not feel so lucky.

For John and Heather Piper, the change made no difference.

The couple has been stuck at the New South Wales border since early August, waiting to drive home – just two hours away from where they have been camping.

John and Heather Piper speak to ABC News Breakfast from their campsite on the NSW border
Sir. Piper said he and his wife Heather had tried to contact Queensland Health and asked for exceptions.(ABC News)

Sir. Piper told ABC News Breakfast this morning that the couple was nearing the “end of their tethering”.

“We pay bills in both states,” he said.

“If it were not for some social media – mental health is a real problem.”

Sir. Piper said the couple had tried to contact Queensland Health and asked for exceptions.

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