Two Victorian residents who work in a South Australian aged care facility have had their essential traveller permits reneged as hard border restrictions come into effect on Friday.
Mount Gambier's Boandik Lodge chief executive Gillian McGinty said six of her staff lived in Victoria and two lifestyle coordinators had their permits declined.
Ms McGinty said she was still waiting to hear about permits for the other four.
"This will leave a big hole in our staffing group," she said.
"These people have qualifications to do their role that other people don't and their role enhances the well-being for our residents.
"It will be quite difficult for us, we'll have to use personal care staff to fill the gap which is made more difficult as we move to a one-worker-to-one-home model.
"We don't have a large pool to fill shifts which puts extreme pressure on our staff resources."
The South Australian government moved to toughen up its borders on August 12 as the coronavirus spread closer. The hard border has left those who live across the border in Victoria but work in South Australia in limbo.
The new restrictions mean that from Friday, Victorian cross border community members wanting to enter South Australia will have to reapply under another essential traveller category.
"There are some exceptions for essential workers but my staff have not been granted them this time," Ms McGinty said.
"They said they wanted to move and find accommodation in Mount Gambier to continue to work, but they are not allowed to do so."
Ms McGinty said prior to the border changes, her staff had undergone weekly coronavirus testing to ensure they were fit to work and cross the border.
Because the aged care facility has not recorded a downturn, Ms McGinty said her two staff members were unable to access JobKeeper.
"There are grants available for staff but these are only in hotspot areas and don't cover a person when they can't come to work," she said.
"We are looking at what resources we can provide for our staff but we cannot pay them not to work. They will have to use their annual leave and entitlements."
Ms McGinty said she believed there should be an appeal process to look at individual cases.
In a statement, SA Health said travel exemptions were considered on a case by case basis and took into account local epidemiology including evidence of community transmission.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said the strong border between states would be devastating for border communities.
"We have been increasingly concerned over the last four weeks about the potential for quite significant seeding in regional Victoria," he said.
"The second wave in Victoria really was contained in metropolitan Melbourne for quite some time; that's not the case anymore. There are current active cases on the other side of the border and we just don't want them to come into South Australia and quite frankly we can't afford for them to come into South Australia."
The Premier hoped the border restrictions would be "as temporary as possible".
"If that risk diminishes then of course we will remove it," he said.
"We're watching it very, very carefully and we will not keep these in place for one day longer than we need to, we know how devastatingly inconvenient that they are for those communities."
A group of cross border community members have started an online petition in the hopes of reversing Friday's hard border restrictions claiming they "do not understand the heightened border strategy from South Australia in the current circumstances".
In 48 hours the petition has garnered almost 4000 signatures.
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