TUESDAY night was far from the first time Josh Uwland drove back to Victoria from New South Wales, but it was one of the strangest times.
The Kewell-based livestock truck driver was greeted by steady stream of caravans and trailers heading in the opposite direction, as motorists made the dash from Victoria in the final hours before the NSW government shut the border in response to Melbourne's COVID-19 outbreak.
"There were campervans moving around, there were cars towing trailers, it was just odd vehicles for that time of night compared to normal," he said.
"A lot of them seemed to be going out of Victoria, heading the other way. Going up to NSW a few days earlier there were caravans going in all different directions. The border restrictions changed and everybody up and went home.
"The thing that surprised me was that one of the border crossings at Barham, where you go from NSW to Victoria, I went through there at 10.30pm and there was no checkpoint set up."
When he returned to NSW on Thursday to deliver livestock to a Wagga Wagga abattoir, the Hume Freeway was noticeably quieter, and the border a hub of police and defence force activity.
"It seemed to be one officer per vehicle, they had a lot of staff there: Members of the police and the army, there were quite a lot of people there, it was quite a workforce.
"The place that I went to on Thursday, because I'm Victoria I had to wear a mask and gloves to unload my stock, because of the procedures the company has put in place with COVID."
On Wednesday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard issued a Public Health Order allowing agriculture and freight for commercial purposes to move, freely, across borders.
Victorian truck drivers are now required to get a permit to travel to NSW. They do not have to self-isolate if their employers have COVID safe plans in place.
As of midday on Friday, those travelling to Queensland must renew border passes every week, and follow additional social distancing requirements.
Another truck driver, Ararat's Luke Hayden, has travelled to Queensland in the past week transprting mixing wagons to feed sheep and cattle.
He said some border crossings in the northern state were police more heavily than others.
"Some police personnel sit around on fire drums and just wave you through sitting down, but we all know they are pretty casual," he said. "It will be interesting to see going north this next week what I encounter."
In South Australia, travellers are only allowed to enter via one of 21 roads, seven of them in the Wimmera. Essential travellers living in cross border communities can still enter South Australia, however they cannot travel further than 50 kilometres into the state.
South Australian police statistics show 1523 people crossed from Victoria into South Australia in the 36 hours from midnight on Wednesday and midday on Thursday.
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