On the advice of the Chief Health Officer, the McGowan Government will extend Phase 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap but will now allow exemptions to the 2 square metre rule at selected venues to continue Western Australia’s economic recovery and keep WA safe and strong.
In August, the Chief Health Officer recommended a further delay to the introduction of Phase 5, due to the situation in Victoria and increasing local case numbers in New South Wales.
Phase 5 would see the removal of the 2 square metre rule at venues. Phase 6 included access to remote Aboriginal communities.
Effective from Saturday, October 24 (or 11.59pm, Friday, October 23) selected venues that predominantly hold seated events are exempt from the 2 square metre rule, and will be permitted to reach up to 60 per cent of their usual maximum capacity for seated and ticketed performances.
Venues that are now exempt include theatres, concert halls, auditoriums/amphitheatres, cinemas, comedy lounges, and performing arts centres.
These venues are deemed ‘low risk’ as they are seated and ticketed.
This adjustment to Phase 4 will provide these venues and industries the opportunity to function in a COVID-safe way, without being disproportionally impacted by the 2 square metre rule.
Western Australia remains highly susceptible to a major outbreak, given nearly all physical distancing and gathering restrictions have been removed.
The reintroduction of COVID-19 back into the Western Australian community could lead to an outbreak that would likely result in new restrictions being imposed.
No new tentative date will be set for Phase 5 at this point, due to WA’s strong health and economic standing. The State Government will continue to review up-to-date health advice and provide an updated roadmap when the health advice allows.
The McGowan Government recognises that the 2 square metre rule does act as an impediment to some other sectors which remain at a higher risk due to the close proximity and mixing of patrons within indoor spaces.
The Government will continue to review these restrictions to determine if COVID-safe solutions are possible in the future.
For more information on the new exemptions for selected venues, visit www.wa.gov.au
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Western Australia continues to lead the nation in our recovery from COVID-19, and the community’s response has helped keep WA safe and strong.
“While other jurisdictions still need to impose stricter restrictions on their citizens such as the 4 square metre rule and other gathering limits, Western Australia is free of nearly all restrictions and life in WA is virtually back to normal.
“We now have the equal-lowest unemployment rate of all the States, and our economy continues to grow as more local jobs are created. There’s more work to do but thanks to the efforts of all Western Australians, we are now in the best position of just about anywhere in the world.
“We’ve come so far, and it’s more important than ever that we don’t get complacent and take a risk we will all regret.
“While WA has had no community spread for more than six months, the Chief Health Officer has made it clear that community spread over east still poses a threat to our State, and there are still concerns over the border arrangements of other States.
“We need to stay the course just a little longer, and that’s why we have acted on the Chief Health Officer’s recommendation to extend Phase 4 but include a new exemption.
“We will review this regularly and will make further changes if and when we can.
“I am absolutely focused on ensuring we can continue on our recovery safely, in a way that does not jeopardise the hard work and sacrifices of each and every Western Australian.”
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“Our Government recognises that, even though WA is streets ahead of other States when it comes to easing restrictions, some sectors are not able to operate at full capacity.
“That’s why, on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, we can increase capacity at selected seated venues, such as theatres, concert halls and performing arts centres.
“We hope the changes will assist these venues on the path to recovery, helping to support local jobs and our State’s economy.”