First flights
First flights

PHOTOS: Tear-jerking moments as families reunited

EMOTIONAL scenes filled the Hobart Airport as arriving passengers embraced friends and family for the first time in months.

Four-year-old Hobart girl Sadie Myors stood at the arrivals gate yesterday with a balloon and welcome sign in hand as her aunty Emily - who she hasn't seen in 11 months - touched down from Queensland.

Sisters Nina, 1 and Sadie Myors, 4 are reunited with their aunty Emily Myors. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Sisters Nina, 1 and Sadie Myors, 4 are reunited with their aunty Emily Myors. Picture: Zak Simmonds

After a warm and emotional hug with her aunty on the first day of the borders reopening, Sadie said she was most looking forward to going out for ice cream to celebrate Emily's homecoming.

Aunty Emily said reuniting with Sadie, the four-year-old's younger sister and the rest of their family provided a bright spark in an otherwise tough year.

Also arriving into Hobart yesterday was 24-year-old Patricia Carter who, like her sister Jennifer, is set to give birth in the coming weeks.

"It's been 12 months since I've seen Patricia and 15 months since I've seen my parents," she said.

"My mum went through breast cancer last year and I haven't been able to see and support her through that. There's been a lot of changes in the last year.

 

 

"I'm looking forward to spending as much time as I can with family while I'm down - we've got a lot to catch up on."

A strong police presence was at the airport to enforce COVID-compliance but little social distancing was seen when arriving passengers jumped to embrace those awaiting their return.

Geilston Bay grandmother Vicki Jesney was among those waiting at the arrivals gate for the arrival of her daughter Natalie Simmons and grandson Hudson.

Natalie Simmons and son Hudson Simmons arrive in Hobart to be reunited with her mum Vicki Jesney. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Natalie Simmons and son Hudson Simmons arrive in Hobart to be reunited with her mum Vicki Jesney. Picture: Zak Simmonds

The family described their reunion as "a big relief".

"It's been so long and so hard since I've been able to see Hudson who's growing up so fast," Ms Jesney said.

"All his cousin's are here and he and Nat have been cut off from us for the whole year. We're so grateful to see the borders have reopened."

It's also been a long seven months for Gold Coast woman Ally Davis who after landing in Hobart on Monday is set to reunite with her 93-year-old mother.

"Mum's just got into aged care so we've come down to visit her," Mr Davis said upon arrival into Hobart with partner Steve.

Ally and Steve Davis from the Gold Coast. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Ally and Steve Davis from the Gold Coast. Picture: Zak Simmonds

"It's been really tough not being able to see her at all over the last few months, really hard.

"It has been a shame but it's great that we're able to open the borders again."

Ms Davis said she last saw her mother in March before the state's borders were locked shut.

"We'll be here for two weeks to check out mum's new living arrangement and how she's settling in," Ms Davis said.

First-time parent Amy Bowerman, 32, of Midway Point, had spent the past 10 months without her bestie Chanyce Turnbull. 26.

Chanyce Turnbull is reunited with best friend Amy Bowerman and her 2 week old son Bailey Gowans. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Chanyce Turnbull is reunited with best friend Amy Bowerman and her 2 week old son Bailey Gowans. Picture: Zak Simmonds

"It's upsetting that she has missed everything. We talked everyday but it is not the same but I'm grateful for FaceTime, I got to see her face on the square screen for my baby shower.

Ms Turnbull was on the second flight to Tasmania from Brisbane.

They cried with joy when seeing each other.

For Ms Turnbull, who left her Hobart family and moved to Townsville in January to study occupational therapy, it was extra special as it was the first time she met Amy's two week-old Bailey - the main reason for this trip. 

"It was a relief to hear borders would open and now it's surreal I'm here," Ms Turnbull said.

"This time has been so hard for me like other families and friends, to be separated from everyone we love.

"Last time we saw each other she (Amy) wasn't pregnant, now she has a baby in her hand. We talked all the time, but I really struggled, I don't know what I will do if this happens again." 

Nervously waiting in the crowd was Hobart university student Lucinda Hinckfuss, 24.

Her boyfriend of three and a half years, Chris Johnson, 27, arrived.

Lucinda Hinckfuss is reunited with boyfriend Christopher Johnson. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Lucinda Hinckfuss is reunited with boyfriend Christopher Johnson. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Ms Hinckfuss moved to Hobart for studies in February. It's been a tough six months as they planned on many trips and adventures and non could eventuate. She still remembers the day she heard the bad news of closed borders and that sinking feeling.

"I am beyond happy to see him. We are so over FaceTime even if it has got us through."

 

 

1.40PM, YESTERDAY: It has been a long seven months for Gold Coast woman Ally Davis, who after landing in Hobart on Monday is set to reunite with her 93-year-old mother.

"Mum's just got into aged care so we've come down to visit her," Mr Davis said upon arrival into Hobart with partner Steve.

"It's been really tough not being able to see her at all over the last few months, really hard.

"It has been a shame but it's great that we're able to open the borders again."

Ms Davis said she last saw her mother in March before the state's borders were locked shut.

"We'll be here for two weeks to check out mum's new living arrangement and how she's settling in," Ms Davis said.

 

Queensland couple Tina and Zekry Palushi.
Queensland couple Tina and Zekry Palushi.

 

Also arriving in Hobart on Monday was Queensland couple Tina and Zekry Palushi who were using the reopening of borders as a chance to holiday in Tasmania.

"We've got family who live in Tasmania including our daughter so we're here to see them," Mr Palushi said.

The pair praised airport and flight staff for "excellent" compliance with social distancing measures.

 

12.30PM: It was an arrival like no other for passengers aboard the maiden flight into Hobart since the reopening of borders, as a strong police presence enforced COVID-compliance.

As dozens of police officers were seen patrolling the Hobart Airport on Monday morning, Acting Assistant Commissioner Operations Debbie Williams said an increased police presence was rolled out to assist biosecurity and screening measures.

"We've got more than our usual contingent at the airport. It's a new process. Our role is to support biosecurity and assist with the compliance matters as they come through," she said.

 

Passengers from Brisbane arrive on Jetstar flight JQ759 at Hobart Airport as Tasmania opened its borders today. Picture: zak Simmonds
Passengers from Brisbane arrive on Jetstar flight JQ759 at Hobart Airport as Tasmania opened its borders today. Picture: zak Simmonds

 

When asked if police would be stopping friends and family from hugging at the gates, Insp Williams said" "Tasmania Police enforce a number of matters in relation to COVID-compliance".

"So it will be including social distancing," she said.

"It really is around education to start with. Police will be observing what is going on at the airport, and giving advice if required."

Rae Burrows of Biosecurity Tasmania said six biosecurity officers would be observing passengers' QR codes from the G2G and Tas e-Travel programs upon their arrival.

She said officer checks at the Launceston Airport would be "generally the same".

"The biggest challenges are ensuring we can move people through as quickly as we can," she said.

"We have far more passengers coming through now and we don't want to spoil their experience.

"The other big risk is that we don't lose sight of the fact that we're primarily here to ensure biosecurity risk doesn't come into Tasmania."

Airport chief executive Matt Cocker said it was pleasing to see the airport welcome larger passenger numbers back through the arrival gates.

He said airport staff increased by 50 per cent on Monday in accordance with the reopening of borders to "safe" states.

"We're looking forward to receiving a number of new passengers into Hobart," he said.

 

Passengers from Brisbane arrive on Jetstar flight JQ759 at Hobart Airport as Tasmania opened its borders today. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Passengers from Brisbane arrive on Jetstar flight JQ759 at Hobart Airport as Tasmania opened its borders today. Picture: Zak Simmonds

 

Cousins Jordan Davis, 14 and Brooke Savage, 14. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Cousins Jordan Davis, 14 and Brooke Savage, 14. Picture: Zak Simmonds

It's been 10 months since Stacey Savage, her daughter Brooke and nephew Jordon have seen their family in Brisbane.

"Most of our family is all here in Tasmania but my sister Tegan moved to Queensland last year," she said.

"She is five months pregnant and I would have loved to have seen her sooner. It's been a really tough year," she said.

Like many Tasmanians, the Hobart housing sales manager has been separated from her sister by the COVID border closures.

But as of today, Tasmania threw the doors open to low-risk jurisdictions, allowing loved ones to reunite.

"As soon as we knew we could get on the plane and get back into Tasmania without quarantine I booked," she said.

"Being able to reconnect has been great. I have missed seeing her."

They flew into Brisbane on Thursday and returned to Hobart this morning.

"The kids have been so excited to see Tegan again."

Getting your hands on a Krispy Kreme doughnut if you are Tasmanian is a bonus of travelling interstate.

"It was just really nice to see my Aunty Tegan. We have had the best five days," Brooke said.

"And we have come home with dozens of Krispy Kreme doughnuts."

 

Saddie Myors, 4 as she waits to be reunited with her aunty Emily Myors. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Saddie Myors, 4 as she waits to be reunited with her aunty Emily Myors. Picture: Zak Simmonds

 

Mr Cocker said five flights were arriving into Hobart on Monday including two from Brisbane and one each from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

 

11AM: The first flight into Tasmania since the borders opened to safe states has landed.

Flight JQ759 from Brisbane landed in Hobart at 10.58am Monday.

Premier Peter Gutwein said he was pleased to be welcoming tourists back into the state.

"Today is a very important day for Tasmania," Mr Gutwein said.

 

Premier Peter Gutwein at Mures in Hobart on Monday, October 26, 2020.
Premier Peter Gutwein at Mures in Hobart on Monday, October 26, 2020.

 

"We've done the work. We're ready. We're safe and we're prepared. We can now start to welcome families back from safe low-risk jurisdictions, importantly we're open for business.

"Tasmanians, I think, can be comforted by the fact that we have the necessary processes and procedures in place to ensure that we can deal with a rapid response should COVID bubble up here in the state.

"But importantly, the people that will be coming into the state now, are viewed by Public Health as just as safe as what we are."

 

Saddie Myors, 4 is reunited with her aunty Emily Myors as the first flight into the state as borders reopen lands. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Saddie Myors, 4 is reunited with her aunty Emily Myors as the first flight into the state as borders reopen lands. Picture: Zak Simmonds

 

Mr Gutwein said he would make an announcement later in the week about opening travel up between NSW and Tasmania.

 

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There were emotional scenes at Hobart Airport this morning as the first Brisbane flight since borders reopened lands.

Among those waiting in the crowd was Hobart university student Lucinda Hinckfuss, 24.

Her boyfriend of three and a half years, Christopher Johnson, 27, is on the flight.

Ms Hinckfuss moved to Hobart for studies in February. It's been a tough six months as they planned on visiting each other often.

 

Lucinda Hinckfuss is reunited with boyfriend Christopher Johnson. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Lucinda Hinckfuss is reunited with boyfriend Christopher Johnson. Picture: Zak Simmonds

She flew to Brisbane in April to see him and had to quarantine on returning to Hobart. She hasn't seen him since.

"We never planned for shut borders," she said.

"No one could have seen this coming.

"I am so excited to see him today. He got the first flight when we heard the borders will open to Brisbane.

"The feeling to be able to see him soon is really unreal. We are so over FaceTime even if it has got us through."

 

 

Ms Hinckfuss has felt stuck in Tasmania with Mr Johnson and all her family in Brisbane.

She fit in one last trip before the situation became tougher and flew to Brisbane to see Chris and her family in April.

"I didn't expect I wouldn't see any of them for the six following months."

After being processed by border police with other incoming passengers, Mr Johnson greeted her, with a long, big, tight hug.

"So happy," he said when asked what it was like to be reunited with his long-time girlfriend.

"I'm so happy to be here. We've done a lot of Facetiming and unsuccessfully Skype workouts."

Ms Hinckfuss, said she planned to not leave his side today and surprise him with his favourite meal - enchiladas.

 

Passengers from Brisbane arrive on Jetstar flight JQ759 at Hobart Airport as Tasmania opened its borders today. Picture: zak Simmonds
Passengers from Brisbane arrive on Jetstar flight JQ759 at Hobart Airport as Tasmania opened its borders today. Picture: zak Simmonds

 

Ms Hinckfuss, who is completing her masters of clinical psychology at UTAS, said she supported the border closure despite being separated from her family but is praying for no more lockdowns.

"I hope this situation can be managed," she said.

Hobart Airport boss Matt Cocker said while the Brisbane flight and the four other flights still to arrive today are positive steps it will take time to return to normal.

"The mood among staff is great, working towards today has been a few months in the making and we have been ready. It's great to have staff back on deck."

Will Mure from the well-known Mures waterfront restaurant said his venue was shut for seven weeks from the end of March and has been dealing with the gradual roll-back of restrictions on hospitality.

He welcomed the reopening of the state's borders to interstate tourists but said caution was needed.

"I think it's great, I think the timing is right," he said.

"We certainly wouldn't have wanted to step up earlier than this I believe, I think it's been very well managed throughout.

 

Mures Tasmania Director Will Mure. PICTURE CHRIS KIDD
Mures Tasmania Director Will Mure. PICTURE CHRIS KIDD

 

"It's one step at a time. I really believe that with the borders reopening we should just hang on to those further restrictions for a little bit longer, just to see how things pan out.

"Obviously, the longer we go without any flare-ups, without any major issues, then we can certainly start to look at further restrictions being eased."

 

 

Mr Mure said the influx of visitors would provide a much-needed boost for the sector.

"Local people have been incredibly supportive, the people of Tassie have been just fantastic for businesses throughout Tasmania," he said.

"However, it's clearly not sustainable for the long term, we're an island that has large tourism-based business and we do need to start to see some more people coming through."

 

 

Originally published as PHOTOS: Tear-jerking moments as families reunited

Sadie Myors, 4 is reunited with her aunty Emily Myors. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Sadie Myors, 4 is reunited with her aunty Emily Myors. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Patricia Carter (left) is reunited with sister Jennifer Carter and niece Brianna Moore, 1 after being away for 18 months. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Patricia Carter (left) is reunited with sister Jennifer Carter and niece Brianna Moore, 1 after being away for 18 months. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Lucinda Hinckfuss is reunited with boyfriend Christopher Johnson. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Lucinda Hinckfuss is reunited with boyfriend Christopher Johnson. Picture: Zak Simmonds

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