NT COVID-19 hotline 1800 490 484
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NT COVID-19 hotline1800 490 484
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Exemption to quarantine

All people who are eligible to enter the Northern Territory from overseas or a declared interstate hotspot, are required to undertake 14 days mandatory quarantine in a place specified by the Chief Health Officer.

For the majority of arrivals, mandatory quarantine is undertaken at a Northern Territory Quarantine Facility in Alice Springs or Howard Springs.

The Chief Health Officer can grant approval for an alternative quarantine arrangement, on a case-by-case basis, under special circumstances, but there are no exemptions to quarantine. Persons requesting exemption from mandatory supervised quarantine are required to complete an application for an exemption and may be required to submit an application for a COVID-19 Management Plan.

Who can apply

There are also groups of people that have exemptions to Mandatory Supervised Quarantine due to national agreements. These include:

  • transport or freight or goods and related logistics into, within or out of the Territory
  • agricultural industry workers
  • diplomats.

There are very limited exemptions given to mandatory supervised quarantine. Some examples where applications may be considered include: Health practitioners requested by the Chief Executive Officer to come to the Territory to perform essential, critical or urgent functions and on farm quarantine, under a COVID-19 Management Plan.

How to apply

Fill the online application for exemption.

If you are an organisation who intends to have employees come from international destinations or declared COVID-19 hotspots, you will need to complete a COVID-19 management plan, which will then be assessed.

If you are an individual there are three options:

  1. If you are coming to work for an organisation that has an approved COVID -19 management plan, you will need the reference number of that plan (CHOE xxxx) and you only apply for an exemption under that plan. This is quick and simple.
  2. If you are a person that is an independent contractor going to work you will need to submit a COVID-19 Management plan. This will be assessed and needs to be approved in order for you to be able to come and work in the NT if you have come from an international destination or a declared COVID-19 hotspot.
  3. if you are an individual applying for an exemption – select the appropriate category and complete the form.

All applications are assessed on their merits by the Chief Health Officer or appropriate delegate.

The processing of applications can take a few days so plan ahead.

How you will be notified

You will receive a letter or email from the Chief Health Officer or authorised delegate advising you of the decision of your application for management plan and exemption application.

If you are an organisation or an individual contractor you will receive a letter that either approves or declines your management plan.

If you are an individual applying for an exemption and it has been approved, you will receive a letter confirming this and the conditions under which you have approval.

All agriculture workers need to be aware of the conditions they must follow under their own/agribusiness’ COVID-19 Management Plan. It is an offence if workers do not comply with the approved plan.

Workers are required to comply with any Chief Health Officer Directions in place at the time of employment/work.

Exemption categories

  • A health practitioner, as defined in section 8(3) of the Act, who is requested by the CEO of the agency responsible for administration of the Act to come to the Territory to perform functions.

    These people must submit an application for exemption and supporting documentation from the organisation outlining the critical requirement.

  • A person who is an agricultural industry worker (excluding abattoir or meat packing worker) providing urgent services that are critical to ensure continuity of the agriculture industry.

    Note: Due to the elevated risks of some agricultural activities, abattoir and meat packing workers must complete 14 days of mandatory supervised quarantine on arrival to the Northern Territory (NT).

    The CHO can grant approval for an alternative quarantine arrangement, on a case-by-case basis, under special circumstances, but there are no exemptions to quarantine.

    Agribusinesses employing workers, who have been in a hotspot in the 14 days prior to arriving in the NT, must complete an online COVID-19 Management Plan and have this approved. The plan must demonstrate why their work is critical and how their employees will work to minimise the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to Territorians or other workers. As part of this, workers can only leave their approved alternative quarantine arrangement to attend their place of employment. Compliance checks will be undertaken.

    Any agriculture workers employed, who have been in a hotspot in the 14 days prior to arriving in the NT, will be required to work according to the agribusiness’ approved COVID-19 Management Plan.

    Agriculture workers

    Agriculture workers, who have been in a hotspot in the 14 days prior to arriving in the NT, can apply for a variation to quarantine, under an approved COVID-19 Management Plan, if they are required to undertake urgent services, critical to the continuity of the agricultural industry.

    Agricultural workers who are not covered under an agribusiness COVID-19 Management Plan, and have been in a hotspot in the 14 days prior to arriving in the NT, need to apply to enter the NT and submit their own online COVID-19 Management Plan for assessment and approval prior to entry.

    Workers who are not immediately required for urgent work, or who work in food preparation, an abattoir, meat packing or catering MUST complete 14 days of mandatory supervised quarantine prior to commencing work.

    Examples of agribusiness activities

    • Agricultural Production
      • Harvesters/pickers
      • Packing Shed operators
      • Cool chain personnel (responsible for temperature control for fresh, chilled, frozen food/vaccines/samples and specimens)
      • Agricultural consultants
      • Fertiliser contractors
      • Pest management contractors
      • Plant operators
      • Technicians
      • Mechanics
      • Builders
      • Plant Health inspectors
    • Agricultural research and extension personnel
    • Animal saleyards and animal transportation (livestock only)
      • Export vessel stockmen and Australian Government observers (NOT international travellers)
    • Animal feed production, transportation, packaging, sale and feeding (livestock)
    • Bee keepers
    • Businesses providing support services
      • Food safety and verification
      • Inspection
      • Laboratory functions
      • Biosecurity functions
    • Businesses who support agriculture and farming
      • Mustering contractors
      • Fencing contractors
      • Station hands (Note: does not include catering staff involved in food prep)
      • Veterinarians
      • Livestock consultants
      • Livestock buyers
      • Animal welfare officers
      • Plant operators
      • Transport operators
      • Pilots
      • Bushfire personnel
    • Export supply chain
    • Forestry
    • Farming activities
    • Laboratory and diagnostic services
    • Teaching and scientific facilities that keep animals
    • Veterinary chemical and vaccines production, transportation and distribution
    • Veterinary clinics and related services
      • On farm visits
      • Animal care services (only where there is a genuine animal welfare issue)
      • Artificial insemination
    • Water supply, water managers and water transport

    Application process for agribusinesses

    Agribusinesses must submit an online COVID-19 Management Plan for agricultural workers from a hotspot which includes the following details:

    1. type of work you do and why it is urgent that workers from a ‘hotspot’ enter the NT and conduct this work (workers will require evidence of employment when applying)
    2. location of work
    3. travel and accommodation
    4. physical distancing requirements
    5. workplace hygiene requirements
    6. monitoring and identifying COVID-19 symptoms
    7. testing management of quarantine workers
    8. testing management of workers

    If approved, the agribusiness will receive a notification email from the Border Restrictions team. The plan is only submitted once for approval and is valid for six months.

    The agribusiness has a responsibility to provide the approved management plan to their workers and ensure they understand their commitment to work to the plan. It is an offence if workers do not comply with the approved plan.

    Application process for workers under an approved agribusiness COVID-19 Management Plan

    Agriculture workers, who have been in a hotspot in the 14 days prior to entering the NT, are required to complete and submit an online application for exemption to Mandatory Supervised Quarantine to enter the NT under their agribusiness’ COVID-19 Management Plan.

    To apply agriculture workers will need:

    • the reference number for their agribusiness’ approved COVID-19 management plan (Example: CHOE-XXXX)
    • a letter of employment from the agribusiness they will work at. Subcontractors need a letter of support from the site controller or project owner
    • to agree to undertake a COVID-19 test in the 72 hours prior to travel, self-isolate after the test and only travel if they have a negative result.
    • the workers will need to be tested according to the CHO directions.

    If approved, the agriculture worker will receive a notification email from the Border Restrictions team and a letter of approval. The letter will allow a one-time entry to the NT. Each time the worker enters the NT to work they will need to re-apply.

    Application process for agriculture workers not under an agribusiness COVID-19 Management Plan

    Agricultural workers who are not covered under an agribusiness COVID-19 Management Plan, and have been in a hotspot in the 14 days prior to arriving in the NT, need to apply to enter the NT and submit their own online COVID-19 Management Plan for agricultural workers from a hotspot which includes the following details:

    1. type of work you do and why it is urgent that workers from a ‘hotspot’ enter the NT and conduct this work (workers will require evidence of employment when applying)
    2. location of work
    3. travel and accommodation
    4. physical distancing requirements
    5. workplace hygiene requirements
    6. monitoring and identifying COVID-19 symptoms
    7. testing proof prior to entry
    8. testing management according to CHO directions

    If approved, the agriculture worker will receive a notification email from the Border Restrictions team and a letter of approval.

    All agriculture workers need to be aware of the conditions they must follow under their own/agribusiness’ COVID-19 Management Plan. It is an offence if workers do not comply with the approved plan.

    Border entry requirements

    Each time a worker enters the NT they must complete a Border Entry Form and provide evidence of their approved COVID-19 Management Plan and approval letter signed by the CHO or a CHO delegate. A new approval letter is required each time a worker enters the NT or changes employer.

    Special requirements

    Agriculture workers, who have been in a hotspot in the 14 days prior to arriving in the NT, must maintain a record of the places they have travelled to and stopped at, for 14 days after leaving the hotspot. The record includes:

    • Date
    • Time
    • Place
    • Reason
    • Person’s name and contact details (if known to you)

    Testing

    All agriculture workers, who have been in a hotspot in the 14 days prior to entering the NT, must:

    • Have a COVID-19 test in the 72 hours prior to travel
    • Quarantine after the test and only travel if the test result is negative
    • Follow the testing regime outlined in the CHO directions

    Examples

    An agriculture worker who arrives in the NT from a declared hot spot, and receives approval to operate under a COVID-19 Management Plan in the NT, is exempt from Mandatory Supervised Quarantine, but is required to quarantine in approved alternative accommodation for 14 days.

    The place of quarantine must be suitable, ensure physical distancing of 1.5m and observe hygiene and cleaning protocols. Suitable accommodation is a bedroom or sleeping area that is separate from any other person and has its own bathroom.

    The worker must remain in quarantine while not working or until they depart the NT (if earlier than 14 days). Quarantine means that you cannot leave your accommodation for any reason other than for essential functions associated with working or accessing emergency medical treatment. You must have your own supply of food or have food delivered to your accommodation. You cannot go shopping or to a restaurant/bar for a meal.

    Travel is only permitted in a company vehicle, to and from the airport and worksite. While in the vehicle the worker must maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from other persons in the vehicle. The worker is required to wear a mask at all times in shared indoor areas including vehicles.

    At the worksite, workers from a hotspot must remain separate from others for their 14 day quarantine period. They must wear a mask in all shared common rooms and remain 1.5 metres away from others at all times in their accommodation and worksite.

    Workplace hygiene practices include access to cleaning and hand sanitising products, waste disposal, managing shared equipment and spaces like tools, kitchens and offices, and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like gloves and masks.

    A plan outlining the steps taken to monitor and identify workers with COVID-19 symptoms is required. Actions may include a daily temperature check and assessment of workers for COVID-19 symptoms, immediate separation of a person/s showing symptoms of COVID-19, and contacting the COVID-19 hotline and following advice given.

  • A person who is recruited under the Australian Government’s Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Programme by an approved employer can have approval from the Chief Health Officer to undertake their mandatory 14 days of quarantine ‘on farm’ while working.

    The CHO can grant approval for an alternative quarantine arrangement, on a case-by-case basis, under special circumstances, but there are no exemptions to quarantine.

    All farms and farmers must complete a COVID-19 Management Plan and have this approved.

    The plan must meet the minimal requirements to be considered for this scheme, explain how their employees will work to minimise the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to Territorians or other workers.  As part of this, workers can only leave their approved alternative quarantine arrangement to work. Compliance checks will be undertaken. Please see the principles that outline the requirements for on farm quarantine.

    Any worker entering the NT under the Pacific Labour Scheme or Seasonal Workers Programme will be required to work according to the farm’s approved COVID-19 Management Plan.

    You can apply for "on farm" quarantine arrangements using this form. It includes a section for applying for the seasonal worker program.

    Every worker must complete a Border Entry Form and apply for an exemption to mandatory supervised quarantine.

  • All freight workers must comply with Chief Health Officer (CHO) Direction 50 .

    Freight workers entering the Northern Territory and the drivers of a freight vehicle that has a Gross Vehicle Mass of over 4.5 tonnes or train crew must complete and submit an online COVID-19 Freight Risk Mitigation Management Plan to the Northern Territory Government before entering the Northern Territory.

    If approved the freight worker will be issued a Certificate of Agreement that will be valid for a period of time specified on the certificate.

    Freight workers will then be committed to working under their plan while in the NT. Under the CHO Directions it is an offence to not comply with the plan submitted.

    Freight workers will need to show their Certificate of Agreement at the border and complete a Border Entry Form every time they enter the NT.

    Freight workers will not be permitted entry without their Certificate of Agreement.

    By completing a Freight Risk Mitigation Management Plan freight workers agree to comply with all conditions in the plan:

    • Practice physical distancing
    • Quarantine and wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if they have been to a hotspot in the last 14 days
    • Undertake an immediate COVID-19 test and self-isolate if they show symptoms - fever (sweats), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or tiredness (fatigue).
    • Provide evidence of their last COVID-19 test result or agree to a test within 48 hours of arriving in the NT if they have been in a declared hotspot in the last 14 days.
    • Maintain a log of movements and close contacts.
    • Carry 2 weeks supply of PPE including gloves, face masks and protective eye wear.

    There is an expiry date on the Certificate of Agreement. A freight worker does not need to submit a plan each time they come to the NT but once the certificate expires they need to submit another plan and will receive a new certificate.

    Random compliance checks will also be undertaken to ensure the worker has a log of movements, evidence of testing and PPE is being carried.

    If freight workers have been in a declared hotspot in the 14 days prior to entering the NT, they must agree to quarantine in suitable accommodation when not working. A freight worker’s quarantine period commences at time of arrival in the NT and finishes 14 days after the worker was last in a hotspot.

    Testing

    To arrange a test visit symptoms and testing, book online (link to online booking system) or call the NT COVID-19 Hotline 1800 490 484 to arrange a test. You can get a test in Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek or Nhulunbuy.

    For information and to book a test.

    Transport and freight operators only

    Assisted testing.

    To make an appointment call 0448 582 731, Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm to make a booking.

    Examples

    A freight worker who leaves a COVID-19 hotspot on 1 September 2020 and enters the NT at 23:00 (11 pm) on 4 September 2020 must, when not working, remain in quarantine until 12:00 (noon) on 15 September 2020.

    A freight worker who leaves a COVID-19 hotspot on 4 September 2020 and enters the NT on 4 September 2020 at 23.00 (11 pm) must, when not working, remain in quarantine until 12:00 (noon) on 18 September 2020.

    If a freight worker hasn’t been in a hotspot in the 14 days prior to entering the NT, they do not need to quarantine.

    Quarantine means a worker cannot leave their vehicle or accommodation for any reason other than for essential functions associated with working including; refuelling, load restraint, vehicle maintenance, accessing essential restroom services or emergency medical treatment. Where possible the worker must have their own food supply or have food delivered to their accommodation. They cannot go shopping or to a restaurant/bar for a meal. They may utilise the roadhouse truck stops and restrooms, as long as they stay 1.5 metres away from others and wipe all touched surfaces with disinfectant wipes after use.

    Suitable accommodation is considered to be a bedroom or sleeping area that is separate from any other person. It can include the cabin of a worker’s truck or train, or a motel room, with its own bathroom.

    For more information contact Border exemptions 1800 490 484.

  • All crew of commercial vessels must comply with Chief Health Officer (CHO) Directions No. 3 of 2021 PDF (255.2 KB)

    A crew member who has been in a hotspot within the 14 days prior to their entry into the Territory will need to quarantine. A crew member’s relevant quarantine period is the period commencing at their time of arrival in the Territory and ends at noon on the 14th day after the crew member was last in a hotspot.

    In other words: time spent outside of a hotspot will count towards the crew members 14 days when they arrive in the Territory.

    The quarantine period must take place either on the vessel or at a place approved by the CHO, subject to all requirements noted in 17(a) to (d) and Part 3: Quarantine requirements.

  • More information

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