With recent announcements around the freeing up (or not in the case of WA) of COVID conditions around the country, ACWA provides this “around the grounds” look at the COVID conditions Australia-wide.
The focus of this bulletin, where possible, is on the most recent announcements for each State. Let’s start with the vaccination clubhouse leaders, the ACT.
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT Government recently announced, having reached 95% of the eligible population being fully vaccinated, the easing of restrictions will be brought forward to 11.59 pm on Thursday, November 11 2021. You can find press release details here:
From November 12, there will be:
- No more limits on home visits or informal outdoor gatherings.
- The default density limit will be one person per two square metres in most indoor settings and industries, including hospitality and retail.
- Having a drink while standing at the bar will be permitted, nightclubs will reopen, and dancing permitted.
- Face masks will only be required in high-risk settings, such as hospitals and aged care facilities, public transport, schools, and some business settings. However, Canberrans will be encouraged to continue wearing face masks indoors in crowded environments.
However, it should be noted that travel exemption requirements will stay in place for designated, high-risk geographical areas across the country.
Requirements for businesses do not appear to have changed. However, we will continue to monitor the website here https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/restrictions/current-restrictions.
Darwin and Katherine have just exited their short period of “lockout”.
“The lockout” is a new approach introduced in the NT. This approach allows those fully vaccinated to undertake “normal” activities, whilst those who are not fully vaccinated need to follow lockdown style rules, including only leaving home for essential purposes.
With the lockout now concluded, a mask-wearing mandate has been put in place until Friday, November 12, 2021.
Members within the Northern Territory are reminded that the Mandatory Vaccination requirements require relevant workers to have their first vaccination by November 13, 2021.
Current COVID rules for business can be found here https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/business-and-work/business.
New South Wales
Hot on the tail of their cousins in the ACT, NSW is expected to pass the 95% double vaccination target around December 15 2021. At this point, restrictions for all people in NSW will further ease.
In the interim, the latest easing of restrictions for fully vaccinated people happened last Monday, November 8 2021, allowing those who are fully vaccinated to enjoy:
- No capacity limits for significant recreation and entertainment facilities.
- No limits to the number of visitors to their homes.
- No booking limits for restaurants and hospitality.
Details of the November 8 changes can be found here https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/easing-covid-19-restrictions/opening-in-november.
Rules for the unvaccinated can be located here https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/stay-safe/rules/not-fully-vaccinated.
Detailed business rules, including vaccination compliance for business, can be found here https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/business/rules.
Victoria’s COVID settings have not changed since 6:00 pm, October 29 2021.
For a State that has flopped and flopped around with COVID regulations, two weeks of consistency is perhaps something to be celebrated. However, where most states seem to condense their rules into one or two pages of a website, Victoria’s regulations are voluminous.
Vaccination reminders for Victoria – With effect from 6 pm on November 12 2021, a medical vaccination exemption must be an Australian Immunisation Register immunisation medical exemption form. Other forms of documentation previously accepted will no longer be valid.
For those with a penchant for detail, the following links are provided:
- Victoria’s COVID settings can be found here https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-live
- Information for Victorian Business can be found here https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/business-and-work
The Queensland Government made two significant announcements on November 9 2021:
Masks: Once Queensland reaches the milestone of 80% of the State having at least a single dose of vaccination, masks will no longer be required in schools, cafes, clubs, hairdressers and workplaces. The media release highlighted that masks will still be required in airports and on planes. They are also strongly recommended for public transport and places where people cannot socially distance themselves. The exact date of this change is not precise, but it is expected to be within days.
Vaccination: With effect from December 17 or when 80% of eligible Queenslanders are fully vaccinated, pubs, clubs and music venues will be freed of all restrictions provided all patrons and staff are fully vaccinated.
Queensland members received a more detailed update yesterday; however, current COVID rules for business can be found here https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/covid-19-restrictions/current.
When WA announced its “Safe Transition Plan” on November 5 2021, the State pretty much signalled it was steady as she goes for everyone in WA until sometime in January/February 2022. At this point in time, it is expected that WA will achieve a 90% double dose rate (12 years and older).
The Safe Transition Plan focussed on movement in and out of Western Australia and relevant border controls. Details of WA’s Safe Transition Plan can be found here https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/was-safe-transition-plan
However, there are interim COVID regulations in place, and they are summarised as follows:
- Face masks for some high-risk indoor settings (e.g. public transport, hospitals and aged care facilities)
- Proof of vaccination for significant events (1,000+), nightclubs and the casino
- Contact registration (SafeWA) at all public venues
- Revised COVID Event and Safety Plans
- Restricted entry to remote Aboriginal communities, where necessary.
The current regulations for business remain unchanged and can be found here https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-business-and-industry-advice.
On October 26 2021, the South Australian Government announced changes to COVID Regulations would be introduced from November 23 2021. The changes include:
- Borders to open to fully vaccinated domestic travellers (quarantine will continue to apply to travellers from LGAs with community transmission and less than 80 per cent fully vaccinated)
- Seven days quarantine for vaccinated international travellers, 14 days for unvaccinated authorised arrivals
- Masks and density requirements would remain
- 30 people will be allowed at home gatherings
Once 90 per cent of South Australians aged 12+ are fully vaccinated:
- Borders will be open to all fully vaccinated domestic and international arrivals
- 14 days of quarantine for unvaccinated arrivals
- Restrictions on most activities will be lifted
- High-risk activities (nightclubs, standing alcohol consumption) will only be available to fully vaccinated people
- Masks remain in high-risk settings (hospitals, aged care)
- COVID-19 management plans are to remain
The State is currently under Level 1 restrictions (plus several additional restrictions). The details for these conditions can be found here https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/activities-and-gatherings/current-activity-restrictions.
Tasmania’s most recent COVID announcement was made on November 10 2021, when it announced changes to travel arrangements to and from Tasmania.
- From December 15 2021, travellers aged 12 years and two months and older, including returning residents, will need to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (unless exempt) to enter Tasmania without the need to quarantine.
- Travellers who have been in high-risk areas in the 14 days before their arrival in Tasmania will also be required to have returned a negative COVID-19 test within the 72 hours before departure for Tasmania (unless exempt). This testing requirement will not apply to travellers who have been out of Tasmania for fewer than seven days.
- Proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test (for travellers from high-risk areas) may be required to be provided on arrival in Tasmania.
- Tasmanian residents who cannot provide evidence of the required vaccination or testing (for travellers from high-risk areas) on arrival will be directed to quarantine until they can provide proof or return a negative COVID-19 result.
The current business and community regulations have pretty much been in place since September 2021.
Under these conditions, all businesses and workplaces in Tasmania are permitted to operate. Still, they must implement measures to meet the minimum COVID-19 safety standards. This includes a COVID-19 Safety plan. For more information, go to https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/covid-19-safe-workplaces-framework