About 800 police and defence force troops are readying themselves for the mammoth task of enforcing the NSW-Victorian border closure, which is set to come into force at 11.59pm Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott and NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller explained how the operation would work, and warned that the rest of this week would likely be plagued by delays as the new COVID-19 Public Health Order comes into force.
Mr Elliott said the closure was one of the largest emergency operations ever conducted by police and the ADF, with 500 police had already been deployed. The government has also called on 300 army troops, he said, adding that more would likely be required as the operation goes on.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said patrolling the 55 road crossings "was an enormous task", and that roads had been divided into three categories.
The largest roads, which include Wodonga Place and the Hume Highway in Albury, the Cobb Highway at Moama and the Princes Highway, Timbillica will be classed as "Tier A" and will have the greatest number of personal allocated to patrols.
Once the new exemptions system has been set up, these will be the easiest places to cross the border, Mr Fuller said.
There are 29 "Tier B" smaller roads, where there will be greater delays for people trying to cross, and 20 other dirt tracks which will be patrolled via aerial surveillance.
Police will have the power to issue on the spot fines for people crossing without an exemption, and those who are found to be lying on their application forms will also face significant fines, Mr Fuller said.
Like the roads, people crossing the border will also be divided into three categories.
The first, NSW residents who are currently in Victoria or will be there at any time from midnight Tuesday, will be allowed into their home state at any time, but will need to fill out an exemption form and self isolate for 14 days on their return.
"We're not stopping people from going into Victoria," Mr Fuller said.
"But the reality is if you go there and you need to come back, you'll need to apply and go into 14 days self-isolation."
The second category, residents of the border communities of Albury-Wodonga and Echuca-Moama, will be treated differently to to other Victorians.
Mr Fuller said this had caused a delay in finalising the health orders "because we're trying to strike a good balance for those communities".
"Those postcodes will be seen differently to other Victorians," he said.
"They will need an exemption, but will more than likely apply for one that will last them throughout the crisis. We're going to make it as easy as possible to cross, but you're going to have to complete an exemption form."
The third category, all other Victorians, will need an "urgent reason" for seeking an exemption to cross into NSW.
Mr Fuller said the health orders and exemption forms, which will be available through Service NSW, were expected to be ready be ready "sometime this afternoon" .
"We will let you know once that information is up on NSW Government website," he said.
"If there is failure with technology and you need to cross the border [in the next few days], you should approach police and explain the situation and we will work with you.
"For the 72 hours from midnight, there will be challenges. If you don't have to cross the border, please don't."
"In time, it will be a simple system that has worked in Queensland."