South Australia will leave its COVID-19 border restrictions in place as it moves to increase penalties for those who flout the rules.

The state’s transition committee has ruled both the hard border closure with Victoria, which allows only essential travellers to cross, will stay and so will quarantine requirements for people from NSW and the ACT.

Premier Steven Marshall says the border measures will stay for as long as necessary amid the surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne and as Sydney grapples with virus clusters.

“There are many people who would benefit from this being lifted, but we cannot do it too early if it’s going to be putting us backwards in SA,” Mr Marshall said.

On Tuesday, the state government also introduced new laws to parliament to add jail time as possible penalties for those who breach the border rules.

Currently, the maximum penalty a court can hand out is a $20,000 fine but under the proposed changes, a jail sentence of up to two years will be an option.

“As a government, we want to send the strongest possible message to those who break the law,” Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said.


“We can’t be too casual when it comes to protecting our state from the second wave of COVID-19 our Victorian neighbours are currently facing.”

The law changes follow the arrest of nine people trying to enter SA from Victoria over recent days.