04/02/2021 - 20:56

Businesses, schools to reopen, but masks remain

04/02/2021 - 20:56

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From 6pm tomorrow, several of WA’s COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted as part of the state’s transition out of the five-day lockdown, but masks will remain mandatory.

Mark McGowan made the announcement during a press conference this evening. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

From 6pm tomorrow, several of Western Australia's COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted as part of the state’s planned transition out of the five-day lockdown, but masks will remain mandatory.

Provided no new locally acquired cases are recorded tomorrow, Premier Mark McGowan has announced that those in the Perth metropolitan area and the Peel region will be free to leave their homes, but masks will remain mandatory indoors, outdoors and on public transport.

Schools, businesses and retail venues will be allowed to reopen, with the exception of casinos and nightclubs, but there will be a four square metre capacity rule in place.

There will be a 150-person capacity at hospitality, entertainment and venues and events, including weddings and funerals, as well as for community sport.

Visits to aged care facilities will be restricted to compassionate grounds and only essential travel will be permitted in and out of the Perth and Peel regions to other parts of WA.

Provided the state continues to record no new locally acquired cases, the transitional restrictions are expected to be in place until 12:01am on Sunday, February 14.

The South West region will return to pre-lockdown conditions from 6pm tomorrow.

During a press conference this evening, Mr McGowan apologised for the loss and inconvenience caused by the lockdown and vowed to learn from the outbreak and continue to adjust and strengthen the state's hotel quarantine rules.

He said the transition from the lockdown would help to bring confidence while the state waits for further testing and the virus’ full 14-day incubation period.

The announcement comes after the state government called a meeting of the State Disaster Council to finalise a plan for life after the lockdown, a plan based on the advice of the state's chief health officer.

The state recorded no new locally acquired cases for the fourth consecutive day of the five-day lockdown today, which was enforced after a hotel security guard at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Perth's CBD contracted the highly contagious UK strain of the coronavirus from a returned overseas traveller.

The guard, a man in his 20s, is believed to have become contagious on January 25, after which he visited several locations across the Perth metropolitan area.

Exactly how the man contracted the virus remains the subject of an ongoing investigation by WA Police and the state’s health officials, with a full report expected in the coming days.

Since the lockdown began on Sunday, more than 42,700 Western Australians have been tested for the virus, including the majority of the man’s 191 close contacts now in quarantine.

The man’s four closest contacts, including his roommates, returned their second negative test result today.

More to come.

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