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How the Queensland border closure will affect Sydneysiders’ holidays

Sydneysiders trying to escape the winter and travel to sunny Queensland have been left scrambling after the state announced a travel ban due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Tuesday the sunshine state’s borders will close to all Sydney residents from Saturday, with just three days warning.

The ‘furious’ Queensland premier said no one from Sydney will be allowed into the state after two teenagers with coronavirus lied on their declaration forms to sneak back in after travelling to Melbourne via the harbour city.

Any Queensland residents returning will have to isolate in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense. 

This has since thrown travel plans out of the window for Sydney residents, with many fearing they will lose thousands of dollars in flights and accommodation.

Daily Mail Australia takes a look at how the Queensland border closure will impact holidays – and how you can fight for your money back.

Holidaymakers are now racing to cancel or reschedule flights, in the hopes they don’t lose hundreds of dollars already forked out for fares.

Qantas has announced that for any passengers flying before or on October 31, they can apply for a full credit to book any flight at a later date.

The credit can be used before December 31, 2022 but passengers will need to cover any additional fare increase or change fee.

For any Qantas flights booked after October 31, a credit will also be supplied but must be used within 12 months of the original booking date. 

Qantas customers can also reschedule their flights for another date at no extra cost. 

Jetstar has also said customers can change their flight dates – but no destination – for services booked between May 21 and August 31 for domestic travel between June 12 and October 31. No change fees will be applied.

This means if a customer has a flight booked for Queensland’s Hamilton Island, they can fly on a different date, but must still fly into the same airport. 

For flights around other dates, Jetstar passengers will need to contact the airline and there is no guarantee of a free change.

A spokesperson for Virgin said the airline had changed its policies following the recent announcement.

Passengers who booked on or after April 21 for travel up to October 31 will be able to change their flights and destination at no extra charge.

‘Customers with any changes to their flights will be contacted directly,’ the spokesperson said.

Sydneysiders who booked idyllic beachfront resorts and hotels are also now scratching their heads on whether or not they will receive a refund.

Airbnb announced that any customers who booked before March 14 will be able to receive full refunds or credits for check-ins until August 31.

But bookings made after this date will not be eligible for an automatic refund due to coronavirus restrictions, but guests may be able to receive some form of refund after speaking to their host directly.

Derek Nolan, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Australia said all hosts were strictly following government advice.

‘Airbnb is extremely serious about supporting government and police efforts to combat COVID-19,’ he said.   

The majority of accommodation offered by airlines such as Qantas and Jetstar have free cancellation policies already in place.

Guests will need to contact the individual hotel provider if free cancellation is not an option. 

Most major hotel chains have special coronavirus policies, which make it easier for guests to change reservations or cancel all together. 

But many smaller hotels are unlikely to offer refunds unless it was specified at the time of booking.

Tourists often make sure to buy some form of travel insurance in case their plans are suddenly brought to a stop.

But most big insurance companies have said they won’t offer any support in the event of a global pandemic, but the price of the actual insurance may be refunded. 

Allianz Insurance is offering customers who bought travel insurance on or after March 18 the option to cancel or receive a full refund – but eligible criteria applies.

Allianz customers who bought insurance before March 18 can also apply to have a portion of their premium refunded.

Those using NRMA insurance can expect a credit on their premium if their original departure date is after March 24.

CGU Insurance customers will be unable to get any money back if their holiday is cancelled on claims made after January 23.

The company said as COVID-19 was declared a widely known event on this date it is unable to cover any cancellations or changes.

However, customers may be eligible to have their insurance premium refunded or credited. 

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