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Australia Perth's post-COVID lockdown rules explained, from masks to travel during the WA school holidays

15:48  02 july  2021
15:48  02 july  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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After four days cooped up inside, Perth and the Peel residents have been set free from lockdown, but there will be two phases of post-lockdown restrictions in place for the next nine days.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said this will include a three-day period of strict restrictions from 12.01am on Saturday July 3 to 12.01am on Tuesday July 6, followed by a secondary "transitional phase" of restrictions up until Monday, July 12.

Mr McGowan praised the community response to the four-day "circuit-breaking lockdown", which will end as planned at midnight.

However, Mr McGowan said an "extra cautious" approach to the Delta variant of COVID-19 was needed for the next three days in WA.

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Here's everything you need to know about the restrictions that will kick in at midnight.

When will the lockdown end?

The lockdown will finish at 12.01am Saturday morning when WA will take the first step on its journey back to pre-lockdown life.

This will be a three-day period of strict restrictions followed by the second step, which is six further days of "transitional restrictions" from July 6 to July 12.

If all goes well over the next nine days, Mr McGowan said people in the Perth and Peel region can take the third and final step to get back to their "restriction free, pre-lockdown lives" on Monday, July 12.

Do I still need to wear a mask?

Yes. In the first three-day period, masks will be compulsory in all indoor settings, except at home, and they must also be worn on public transport and when outdoors, except for vigorous exercise.

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Once the second phase of restrictions start on Tuesday, July 6, masks will not be required outside, except where physical distancing is impossible.

They will still be mandatory indoors, including in the workplace and on public transport.

Exemptions apply for children in primary school or younger and for medical reasons.

Where can I travel in the school holidays?

Most people from the metropolitan are free to travel around the state from Saturday, subject to stringent rules.

The exception is people identified as casual contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases who are not permitted to travel outside the Perth and Peel regions until Monday, July 12, unless it is for essential or compassionate reasons.

Masks will be mandatory for all Perth and Peel residents while they are in other regions in Western Australia and they will only be able to go to venues to get takeaway food or drinks.

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They won't be permitted to go to any functions or events or to linger at hospitality venues.

The restrictions on visiting hospitality venues may change in the second phase, but this will depend on what happens over the next three days.

Masks will continue be mandatory for all people from the Perth and Peel who are visiting other parts of the state until the second phase of restrictions end on July 12.

Can I go back to work?

Anyone able to work from home should continue to do so during the first phase of restrictions, Mr McGowan said.

Following that, people are able to return to work, but they must wear a mask at their workplace and on public transport.

Can I have people over?

Yes, but there will be a limit on private gatherings at home of up to 10 visitors indoors and 20 outdoors.

This will increase to 30 people indoors in the second phase of restrictions, with up to 150 people allowed for private outdoor gatherings.

What about community sport?

Professional and outdoor community sports—including training—is permitted, but without spectators.

Indoor community sport is not permitted in the first phase of restrictions.

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Once the second phase kicks in, all community sport—both outdoor and indoor—will be able to resume and spectators will be allowed, provided the venue abides by the two-square-metre capacity rule.

Can I visit people in hospitals and aged care facilities?

No visitors to hospitals are permitted in the first phase of restrictions to hospitals, aged care and disability facilities except for compassionate reasons and exceptional circumstances.

This includes essential care, end-of-life and advocacy, accompanying a child or supporting a partner giving birth.

In the second phase of restrictions, patients in hospital or people in an aged care or a disability facility can have four personal visitors per day, masks are mandatory for staff and visitors.

Category 2 and 3 elective surgeries have been postponed at public hospitals until Friday, July 9.

People will be contacted to reschedule their appointments and are requested not to contact hospitals directly.

What venues can open?

All public venues including hospitality, entertainment and retail can reopen over the next three days with the four-square-metre rule and a capacity of 20 patrons.

The 20-patron limit applies to the entire venue.

This includes:

  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, casinos, nightclubs and entertainment venues which will be able to have seated food and drink service only
  • Fitness venues including gyms, pilates, yoga and dance studios
  • Beauty salons and hairdressers
  • Public venues such as recreation centres, outdoor playgrounds, museums and swimming pools
  • Places of worship

Universities, TAFEs and training services can also reopen.

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Weddings and funerals can go ahead with a limit of 20 guests.

From Tuesday, the two-square-metre capacity rule and a 150-patron limit will apply to most venues including weddings and funerals.

Major venues, including Perth Stadium and Perth Arena will be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity during the second phase of restrictions.

Is there compensation for businesses who had to close?

Not yet. Mr McGowan says the government is working on a plan, but says the state needs to get through the next three days and into the second phase of restrictions before details of a compensation package for small businesses affected by the latest lockdown can be announced.

The state's Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates WA businesses will be hit harder than last time—when the lockdown cost $170 million.

What about individuals?

At this stage there is no compensation for people who lost a week's worth of income due to the lockdown and Mr McGowan said the initial advice he has received indicated there will not be compensation because the state's lockdowns have "not been severe enough" to qualify.

He said the Commonwealth is responsible for income support, however this program only starts if the lockdown lasts more than seven days.

However, the Premier said he will be writing to the Commonwealth to seek support for casual workers and employees who have lost income.

When will all the restrictions end?

The second 'transitional phase' of restrictions will take WA through to the end of the full 14-day incubation period from when the physiotherapist was infectious in the community, which sparked the snap four-day lockdown.

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Assuming everything goes well with the restrictions, Mr McGowan said people in the Perth and the Peel region can then take the third and final step to get back to their "restriction free, pre-lockdown lives" on Monday, July 12, pending health advice.

"We need to have zero positive cases over the next three days in order to transition into the next step-down and by the end of that period hopefully we will be out of all of this," he said.

Will there be another lockdown?

So far the WA government's response to community spread of COVID-19 has been to issue snap lockdowns.

However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday Australia needed to transition towards a long-term plan that focused on "minimising serious illness, hospitalisation and fatality" instead of suppression of the virus.

National Cabinet has agreed to a four-step plan to get Australia to this point, which would require as many Australians as possible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Here's what is known so far about this plan.

Anything else I need to know?

People need to continue using the SafeWA app, continue to practice social distancing where possible and maintain good personal hygiene.

Anyone who has visited any of the exposure sites must go and get tested.

If symptoms develop, they need to get tested again even if they previously received a negative result.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison implored Australians to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"If you get vaccinated, you get to change how we live as a country," he said.

[Zendesk COVID form embed]

Berejiklian praises regional residents as 'public defenders' during COVID lockdown .
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