The tough Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in force for Perth and surrounding areas began easing from tonight (Friday) at 6pm. But Premier Mark McGowan confirmed late yesterday that, for many West Australians, it is still not a return to pre-lockdown normality.
While the state’s South West returns to the same level of restrictions it had before the infection of a quarantine security guard that caused the latest lockdown, the Perth metro and Peel regions have a higher level of restrictions that are only likely to ease significantly on February 14 – providing there are no new infections recorded.
Restaurants, bars, gyms and retailers are able to reopen from tonight, although with restrictions on how they may operate. Schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday.
Masks are still mandatory in most situations
Masks remain mandatory indoors, outdoors and on public transport. But people are not required to wear a mask during vigorous outdoor exercise.
Masks must also be worn in high schools, but primary school students are exempt.
Discussing the wearing of masks, which has not been mandatory in WA prior to the latest lockdown, McGowan remarked: “”I know it might be annoying; I’ve taken a while to get used to it myself, but it’s an extra precaution that gives us the confidence to open back up.”
Gatherings in homes and venues are capped
Gatherings are limited to 20 people in homes. Hospitality, entertainment, retail and fitness venues and weddings have their capacity capped at 150 people. Nightclubs and the casino remain closed.
Bars can only operate a seated service and dancing is prohibited. The one person per 4-square-metre capacity limit applies at hospitality venues.
Addressing a media conference, McGowan said 189 of the 191 close contacts of the infected security guard had tested negative. Test results for the other two contacts were still pending.
Premier apologises for any distress or loss
“To my fellow Western Australians, I thank you,” McGowan said during the conference.
“I also want to say that I regret and apologise for any distress, loss or inconvenience the events of this week has caused. I know it has been hard and I wish it didn’t happen.”
He added that it was important for people to continue using QR codes to check in at venues, retail outlets and cafes. Fines could be issued for those failing to comply.