29/04/2021 - 19:59

Restrictions to lift, but masks remain: McGowan

29/04/2021 - 19:59

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Interim lockdown restrictions will lift from midnight Friday, but masks will remain mandatory while the state waits for the incubation period of the coronavirus to come to an end.

Restrictions to lift, but masks remain: McGowan
Premier Mark McGowan has said the vast majority of the interim restriction will end at 12:01am Saturday. Photo: David Henry

Interim lockdown restrictions will lift from midnight Friday, but masks will remain mandatory while the state waits for the incubation period of the coronavirus to come to an end after an outbreak that prompted a three-day lockdown.

The State Disaster Council met this evening to consider the latest advice of the chief executive health officer after the state recorded its fifth consecutive day with no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.

During a press conference this evening, Premier Mark McGowan said the vast majority of the interim restriction would end at 12:01am Saturday, as planned, but that a number of restrictions would need to remain in place until May 8.

From midnight Friday, people will be required to wear masks indoors, including in workplaces, on public transport and in sporting venues, and there will be a 30-person limit on gatherings at homes.

Seated hospitality venues, including restaurants and cafés, will be able to open at 75 per cent capacity, while gyms and beauty salons can reopen with the two square metre rule in place.

Public venues can open with the two square metre rule in place, and entertainment venues with fixed seating will be able to operate at 100 per cent capacity.

Health authorities have conducted more than 50,000 tests since the lockdown was announced last Friday, identifying 399 close contacts and 899 casual contacts; nearly all of whom have recorded a negative test result and are in self quarantine.

Mr McGowan warned that it was possible the state may record new positive cases from among the cohort, as the incubation period had not yet ended.

The last known case of the virus in the community was April 23.

About 2 million Western Australians went into a three-day lockdown after a Melbourne man contracted the virus during his final days of hotel quarantine before visiting locations across the Perth metropolitan area between April 17 and April 21.

The lockdown was enforced after two other people became infected, the state’s first cases of community transmission in more than a year.

Mr McGowan apologised to Western Australians and business owners for the lockdown, announcing that the state government would be introducing a new targeted grants program for small businesses impacted by the lockdown and interim restrictions.

“I know lockdowns are hard,” he said.

“Enforcing a lockdown in the Perth and Peel regions and causing hardship was the last thing I wanted to do, but alternative is just simply not worth the risk.”

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