Residents living in NSW's Tweed and New England regions will have to apply for a permit to cross the border into Queensland after the northern state announced control measures including RBT-style checkpoints. (AAP Graphics / Sean Fitzpatrick)
Thousands of people living in northern NSW will have to apply for permits to travel into Queensland from Wednesday in a desperate bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Residents living in the Tweed and in the New England areas will face a border policed in an RBT-style with officers to determine who needs to cross.
While still in the planning stages, police said residents could be issued with stickers to place on their cars to ensure travel is "as seamless as possible", Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters.
"We acknowledge this inconvenience may be quite challenging for some people, but we appeal to them to comply with our directions to help manage the impact of COVID-19 on our community," he said.
"You will see police officers and other officials, government officials, out on the road as of one minute past midnight tomorrow night, making sure that these measures work.
"If any person is allowed to come into Queensland, they have to recognise that if they don't have these reasons to come in, an essential purpose, they will be required to do 14 days self-quarantine regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not."
Anyone travelling by road, air, sea and rail for non-essential purposes will essentially be cut off
Travelling to work, to the supermarket, the pharmacy and the petrol station is classed as essential.
Border residents said the shutdown had created stress and panic as people grappled with the ramifications.
Locals are adamant physically closing the border would be impossible.
"It would be impossible to police," says Shannon Hayley from the Coolangatta Pie Shop.
The Queensland NSW border runs past the front doors of 7-Eleven Coolangatta South on Griffith Street.
If owner Shaohana Yadab walks across the road from the convenience store, she is technically crossing into NSW.
She and her family live in northern NSW and are struggling to comprehend the reality of the border closing.
"What are we supposed to do?" Ms Yadab told AAP.
"We live in NSW and the shop is in Queensland - we have no idea what is going to happen. No one does, people are panicking."
However, Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said the measures had been put in place to protect the community.
"The fact about this is that what we're trying to do is reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19," he said.
"So that's about the big numbers of people coming across. The fact that someone might sneak through somewhere in the back of beyond, on some dirt tracks probably is not the focus for this.
"This is really about the big numbers of people on major corridors."
© AAP 2020