West Australians can return to work and children will start school on Monday, with WA’s lockdown set to be lifted at 6pm on Friday if the state remains free of further COVID-19 cases.
WA Premier Mark McGowan announced the post-lockdown transition plan in a late press briefing just before 9pm on Thursday evening.
WA Premier Mark McGowan says Perth’s lockdown will be lifted on Friday at 6pm.Credit:Getty
The South West will be released from lockdown rules altogether at 6pm Friday, but interim restrictions will apply to Peel and Perth for the coming week.
“A post-lockdown transition period for the Perth and Peel regions to keep WA safe and resume a more COVID-safe way of life will remain in place until 12.01am Sunday morning, 14 February – allowing for the full 14-day incubation period to run its course,” Mr McGowan said.
“All Western Australians must continue to practise physical distancing where possible and maintain good personal hygiene at all times.”
Post-lockdown restrictions will remain in place in the Perth metropolitan area and the Peel region until 12.01am Sunday morning, February 14.
There will be a 20-person limit for private indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Do I still need to wear a mask?
If you live in the Perth and Peel regions you still need to wear a mask outside and indoors in public places, except for when undertaking vigorous outdoor exercise.
Masks will also be required for staff at all schools as well as students at high schools, TAFE, and universities.
Businesses can reopen
All businesses and venues will be able to throw open their doors except for the casino and nightclubs.
The 4 square-metre capacity rule is back in place at most venues which will also only be able to run seated service.
There will be a 150-person capacity – excluding staff – at hospitality, entertainment and venues and events including weddings and funerals. Dancing will only be permitted at weddings and dance studios.
Mr McGowan said the case of a hotel quarantine worker catching COVID-19 and potentially spreading it around the community had highlighted the importance of the SafeWA system.
He said the onus was currently on businesses to have a physical register or a QR code but now patrons would be fined if they did not scan or sign in.
Aged care visits restricted and elective surgery resumes
Visits to aged care and disability care facilities will be restricted to being allowed on compassionate grounds only.
Elective surgery at WA public hospitals will resume once the lockdown has ended and people will be contacted directly to re-schedule and re-book their appointments which were suspended due to the five-day lockdown.
School is back in
Mr McGowan said pending no more cases that school would be back next week.
“Under the post-lockdown transition measures, Perth and Peel schools will start frso if you are doing vigorous indoor exom Monday, 8 February,” he said.
“Masks are not required for primary school students.”
Teaching staff will be permitted to remove their mask if teaching at the front of the classroom to enable clear communication.
Residential school and boarding facilities can resume with a COVID Safety Plan.
Can I leave Perth-Peel?
Fly-in, fly-out workers will once again be able to leave the Perth and Peel regions, but documentation will be required and they must follow strict health protocols.
For non-FIFO members of the public they will only be able to leave Perth and Peel for essential travel according to Mr McGowan.
“People who need to leave the Perth and Peel region for essential purposes must wear a mask at all times in other regions of WA, as per the rules in place in Perth and Peel,” he said.
Sport and Fringe can re-start
Community sport can start, and involve up to 150 people including players, officials and spectators.
An AFLW derby between the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles could go ahead but would not be able to have a crowd larger than 150 people.
Fringe Festival shows will also be able to resume.
More than 40,000 COVID-19 tests since Sunday
Mr McGowan’s late night announcement comes after growing criticism from the opposition and business sector over the uncertainty the state government allowed to fester as the state waited anxiously to see if it would make the full five days without any community transmission cases.
Around 2 million Perth, Peel and South West residents were plunged into a five-day lockdown at 6pm on Sunday following WA’s first known community transmission case of COVID-19 in nearly 10 months.
The lockdown was sparked after a security guard working at the Four Points by Sheraton quarantine hotel in the Perth CBD was suspected to have caught the virus from a COVID-positive guest on January 24.
He visited about 18 sites around Perth while authorities believe he was infectious, which prompted the lockdown.
There have been 191 close contacts of the security guard identified by health authorities and so far 189 of them have come back with negative COVID-19 tests.
Since Sunday there have been more than 42,703 tests but as of 8pm on Thursday no more positive community cases recorded.
Mr McGowan said the lockdown had done the job for taking control of the situation.
“We have [had] the kind of freedoms that other people across the country and around the world could only dream of,” he said.
“The transmission of the virus to a hotel quarantine worker is something that many governments have had to grapple with.
“I’m very sorry it happened and I can assure the people of this state we will learn from this experience.”
Mr McGowan said he wished life could just snap back to how it was the previous week but doing so would be too risky.
“It would be irresponsible. All things going well, and if we continue to see good results from our COVID testing, this phase will last for less than nine days,” he said.
“But to make sure that happens, I do need to ask one more thing. If you are unwell, if you have any symptoms – please go get tested.
“And obviously, if you have been to any of the exposure sites, you need to get tested. And even if you have received a negative result, get tested again if symptoms develop.”
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