Shepparton remains in the border bubble despite the fresh COVID-19 outbreak in the city.
The NSW government on Thursday stopped short of declaring Shepparton an "area of concern" which would temporarily prevent permit holders gaining entry into the state at border checkpoints.
Instead, Shepparton has been classified as a "high risk COVID-19 location" and sent emails to all permit holders alerting them to high risk locations in the city with an added request to get tested immediately if any virus symptoms develop.
NSW Health will monitor the situation in coming days as widespread testing continues.
IN OTHER NEWS
"There are no intentions at the moment to change the status of Shepparton which is currently included in the NSW definition of the border region," a NSW Health spokesperson.
"Everyone who has been to Shepparton in the last 14 days needs to be on high alert, be aware of the high-risk locations and follow any specific advice from Victorian health services, and get tested if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms at all.
"The situation in Shepparton is being carefully monitored and additional advice may be provided by NSW Health if the situation changes."
Shepparton and surrounding communities were added to the Victoria-NSW border bubble less than a month ago.
New testing sites are still opening in Shepparton after an overwhelming response from residents this morning. Hundreds queued from before dawn, after three positive cases in the regional city were identified on Tuesday. https://t.co/5zYfOfohG3@laurelirving7#7NEWSpic.twitter.com/aCMSQdGS0Q— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) October 15, 2020
The latest NSW Public Health Order Amendment was released on Thursday and also includes the addition of Whitfield, Cheshunt, Harrietville, Whorouly, Greta South, Greta West, Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain, among others, into the border bubble.
Christian Dal Zotto welcomed the addition of Whitfield where his family's winery is located.
"We've already started to get bookings for the weekend as well from people who previously weren't able to come to the restaurant or the cellar door," he said.
"It's a clear indication that the locals on the border have been keen to get down to the King Valley but just haven't been able to."
Cheshunt store owner Cathy van Gastelen said the timing of the inclusion in the bubble was perfect.
"It's the best thing that could have happened for the valley," she said.
"It will guarantee us an income stream that will give confidence to the local businesses so that they can start re-employing people."
The changes take effect on Friday.
Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews revealed yesterday he had held talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week about providing Australian Defence Force personnel to tighten the "ring of steel" between Melbourne and regional areas.
It comes as the Victorian government considers a further easing of restrictions in country areas on Sunday.
"I got a good hearing and I am sure we will get an even stronger partnership out of it," Mr Andrews said.
He again acknowledged the anguish being experienced by border communities.
"It's very difficult to have that border closed even with bubble arrangements in place," he said.
"But I am confident as these numbers continue to come down and we get a settling in trend terms, notwithstanding what is happening in (Shepparton), we will finish up with that one million regional Victorians able to travel much more freely."
The Border Mail understands the NSW government was ready to open up parts of the state to regional Victoria as part of the latest public health order amendment released on Thursday before back-tracking due to the Shepparton outbreak.