The Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Andrew Barr has today confirmed lockdown restrictions will ease at 11.59pm on Thursday 14 October as planned, after the jurisdiction passed the 70 per cent fully vaccinated milestone this week.
As of today, 72 per cent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated, meaning ACT residents will enjoy some freedoms come Friday once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
While those in the ACT will be free to leave their homes, visit loved ones and shop for non-essential items, there will be some restrictions in place for the meantime.
These restrictions include:
- A 25 person capacity limit for indoor gatherings
- A five person limit for at-home gatherings
- Licensed venues can welcome five customers across the venue indoors or enforce the one person per four square metre rule (whichever is less)
- However, up to 50 patrons will be able to sit outside at a licensed venue
- Sports teams can resume training and pools will be able to reopen with limits
- Hairdresser and personal care services can resume trading at a limited capacity
For the most part, non-essential retailers will return to a click and collect model until 29 October, but these businesses will be allowed to have up to two people from the same household book an appointment to shop in-person from this Friday.
Barr says this will enable certain retailers to operate, like car dealers performing test drives and clothing shops permitting customers try on clothes and shoes.
While Barr says he expects case numbers to rise once restrictions ease, modelling predicts the ACT will have 99 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated by the end of November.
“As we’ve seen around the world, and even in places that have very high vaccination levels, the virus will continue to spread,” Barr said.
“There will be pressure on the health system. There will be Canberrans who will need acute health care, even if they are fully vaccinated.
“Being fully vaccinated provides you with protection. It may not prevent you from getting the virus, but it does reduce the likelihood, and being fully vaccinated provides a very effective protection against severe disease.”
The Chief Minister also announced some changes to its border bubble with New South Wales, allowing people living in areas immediately surrounding the ACT to travel in and out of the state.
Details on which postcodes will be included in the expanded bubble will be announced on the ACT’s COVID-19 website later today.
“New South Wales residents in these regions, as well as the border postcodes that are already covered by the existing expanding exemption, will be permitted to travel to and from the ACT to undertake work or study to access schools or essential shopping and healthcare without needing to apply for an exemption,” Barr said.
"Residents in these postcodes can also enter the ACT to visit family and friends under the existing ACT gathering limits whether inside the household or outside."
Updated at 12.09pm AEDT on 12 October 2021.
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support