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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

More restrictions to ease from Monday in ACT

Food courts, casinos and gaming in pubs and clubs, saunas and bathhouses, and strip clubs and brothels have been given the green light by the ACT Government to re-open from 9am Monday 10 August.

The changes come under step 3.1 of the ACT’s COVID-19 recovery plan, and Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said the minor changes would enable a small number of businesses and activities to recommence under strict COVID-19 guidelines.

Gyms and health clubs that are unstaffed will now be allowed to have up to 25 patrons in the venue, and bars, pubs and clubs will have no limit on the size of group bookings. ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said a new requirement is that all venues, facilities and businesses “must clearly display occupancy allowances at entrances to each venue or space”, and have a COVID-safe plan.

She said the ACT’s continued “excellent and strong” position with regards to number of cases and readiness to response to new cases has allowed for the minor changes.

Two things that will not change for the time being, however, are crowd sizes and the physical distancing rules. Gatherings will still be capped at 100 people.

“There are other elements of the ACT’s easing of restrictions roadmap that will not be implemented at this time,” Dr Coleman said. “These mostly relate to large gatherings, and changes to the one-person per four square metre guideline for some settings, with these measures continuing to be an important part of the control measures we have in place to reduce the risk of infection.” 

The ACT’s Chief Police Officer said ACT Policing would be working with businesses as they open up, and ensuring they have COVID-safe plans in place.

Dr Coleman said over the next few weeks the Government would be closely following the outbreaks in NSW and Victoria, as well as the compliance of businesses and people in the ACT, to see if restrictions could potentially be eased further after the next checkpoint in two weeks’ time.

“So if NSW continues to keep their outbreaks under control, and there is only a small number of cases in which they cannot identify the source of exposure, [that] would be a positive sign,” she said.

A statement from ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has also advised Canberrans to be “ready for a time when the Chief Health Officer may recommend wearing face masks in the ACT”.

He said today masks are “the fourth line of defence”, particularly for anyone who is unable to physically distance during their daily activities. Woolworths and Bunnings customers in the ACT have already been asked to wear face masks when shopping in stores.

The ACT recorded no new cases in the past 24 hours and has no current active cases. The last confirmed case in the ACT was recorded three weeks ago.

For more information, refer to the ACT easing of restrictions roadmap.

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