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Tasmanian News

Emotional scenes as families reunited

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Emily Myors hadn't seen her two young nieces Sadie and Nina for a year.

But today she was reunited with them in a beautiful moment at Hobart Airport, as Tasmania has relaxed its hard border to all states and territories except NSW and Victoria.

This morning's Jetstar flight from Brisbane was the first to touch down under the new rules, which don't require arrivals from safe jursidictions to quarantine.

Emily was one of the quickest passengers off the plane. 

"My family is all here. I've been in Queensland by myself. It's been a really tough year and as soon as I could get on a plane, I took the first flight out of there," she said. 

"Everything this year's been over FaceTime. I was at the birth of Nina last year and I've only seen her once since that. So obviously to see how much they've grown...Sadie's so tall now. It's just really emotional...it's very overwhelming...even in just in the leadup I was crying and on the plane seeing Hobart...we flew in past Mount Wellington which was really nice."

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Hobart and Launceston airports have been bolstered by police and biosecurity staff to conduct health checks and questioning on entry.

Chief Operating Officer Matt Cocker is expecting Hobart Airport to gradually build its activity.

"We're probably operating at 25-30% from pre-COVID levels. You'll see around us we have a fair number of staff. I would say we're probably at 50% of staff returned today but we'll see that increase in line with more passengers," he said. 

A decision on whether NSW will be added to the list of safe zones is expected to be made in the next few days. 

New Zealand is in that category and Mr Cocker says negotiations on direct flights to Tasmania are progressing well.

"We're working really closely with the state government on that Trans-Tasman opportunity. We're speaking with the border agencies from the Commonwealth Government to understand exactly what the requirements might be and we're looking forward to continuing to work with them to convert on that opportunity." 

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