The return of checkpoints along the Victorian and South Australian border due to coronavirus cases in Queensland and New South Wales has left residents in a “panic”, the creator of an online community group says.

Key points:

  • Eight border checkpoints reopened across South Australia on Friday
  • The checkpoints have been put in place to screen potential travellers from hot zones in Queensland and NSW
  • The same permit system for entering or re-entering SA applies and can be found on the SAPOL website

At the end of Friday’s coronavirus press conference, South Australian Police announced it was reopening screening sites at six locations in the South East as well as sites in Marree and Marla in the state’s north.

Cross Border Call Out creator Paula Gust said many people living in the area did not find out about the checkpoints until trying to cross into South Australia over the weekend and faced major delays.

She said the group received an influx of concerned messages from members about the change.

While most residents already have a permit and will have no issues getting through, Ms Gust said a lack of communication around the changes had instilled “panic”.

“The first thing Victorians and South Australians on that border line think is ‘oh no, they’re going to bring in the 70 kilometre zone again, what happens next?’,” Ms Gust said.

A long line of cars wait to have their travel permits checked at Nelson, Victoria on the weekend.(Supplied: Sue Carrison)

Ms Gust said she heard whispers earlier in the week that things were being “organised” but Friday’s checkpoints announcement came as a surprise.

“It was Friday and the Nelson checkpoint popped up all of a sudden.

“It just instils panic because we’ve all been through so much last year [with] the border being closed for so long.”

Most residents in border towns will already have a permit to pass through the checkpoint.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

She said while people understand the reasoning behind the checkpoints, she wished there had been more to the message.

“It would have been nice for [the Government] to stand up and say, ‘look guys we’re going to get a checkpoint system in again, it’s on the back of what’s happened in New South Wales and Queensland. It’s not South Australia shutting out Victoria.”

Limestone Coast Inspector Campbell Hill said there are no further changes for people living in cross-border communities.

“They shouldn’t imagine any major difficulties coming through at all,” Inspector Hill said.

Due to an increased volume of border travel applications, SAPOL is encouraging anyone planning on travelling to SA to complete their form at least seven days before travelling.

Applications need to be completed for everyone travelling, including children.