Most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in the Perth and Peel regions this weekend but some will stay in place for at least another week, including the use of masks in certain situations.
Another lockdown was narrowly avoided after a quarantine hotel security guard at the Pan Pacific tested positive for coronavirus and also spread it to two housemates, but tough restrictions were put in place instead.
Western Australia has gone four days without any community transmission and Premier Mark McGowan said that meant some restrictions could ease, as planned, from 12.01am on Saturday.
Mr McGowan said the outcome was “terrific news” and “the exact result we need”, adding all 115 close contacts of the security guard had tested negative for the virus.
“There is no evidence of spread from case 1001 beyond his two household contacts,” the Premier said on Thursday.
“This is pleasing news and helps us to move forward.”
Mr McGowan also revealed Western Australia’s border would remain open for NSW travellers following an outbreak of the virus in that state, but said there would be self-quarantine measures in place.
Under changes to the COVID-19 restrictions in the Perth and Peel regions, masks will still be required on public transport, and at events or venues with more than 1000 people.
They will also be required at hospitals, and at disability and aged care facilities. There will be a limit of four visitors per day.
“This is a significant relaxation on the wearing of masks, which can be done safely and based on health advice,” Mr McGowan said.
“This also means high school students will no longer be required to wear masks.
“Masks will also no longer be required at gyms or other fitness venues, or at work.
“I know how frustrating and annoying it can be to wear masks, so thank you to everyone for doing the right thing during this period.”
From Saturday, people will be able to host 100 visitors at their home.
Nightclubs and the casino will also reopen, subject to the 2 sqm rule.
Major stadium capacity will also return to 75 per cent, but masks will be mandatory.
“The restrictions over the coming week are relatively light touch,” Mr McGowan said.
Restrictions will be further reviewed next week.
The Premier said authorities would continue to closely monitor “the evolving situation” in Sydney after a man and his wife were diagnosed with the virus.
Genomic testing of the man has linked his infection back to a returned traveller with an Indian variant of the virus, but how he came to be infected is still under investigation.
“NSW authorities are continuing to contact trace,” Mr McGowan said.
“At the moment, there is no change in our border controls with NSW.”
However, any arrivals from the listed exposure sites will be ordered to self-quarantine for two weeks, and get tested on day two and 12.
“I’ve been advised that so far, we’ve had no arrivals into Western Australia who’ve been linked to any of the exposure sites,” Mr McGowan said.
“That is welcome but we must remain vigilant. We hope NSW can get on top of this outbreak quickly.
“We wish them all the best and we have offered them our help should they need it.”
Mr McGowan also revealed Perth and Peel small businesses impacted by the Anzac Day weekend lockdown could apply for $2000 grants to assist with some of the costs incurred.
The small business lockdown assistance grants program will be available for about 15,000 businesses at an estimated cost of $31.8 million.
Sectors eligible to apply for a grants include:
- Cafés and restaurants
- Bars, pubs, taverns and nightclubs
- Accommodation and sightseeing
- Health and fitness centres, and gyms
- Hairdressing and beauty services
- Bakeries and catering services
- Clubs (hospitality)
- Specialised food retail
- Food wholesalers
- Creative industries and performing arts venues
- Event equipment hire
Western Australia recorded three new cases of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine overnight — a man and woman both aged in their 30s and a child.
It brings the state’s total number of infections to 1013, including 28 active cases. One of them is in hospital.
There are currently 1819 people in Western Australia’s hotel quarantine system.
Health Minister Roger Cook said more than 90 per cent of all health care staff working in quarantine, more than 80 per cent of hotel workers and upward of 70 per cent of security guards had at least received one dose of the vaccine.