The McGowan Government has released a roadmap to carefully ease COVID-19 restrictions, to start getting Western Australians back to work safely and begin the process of re-starting the State’s economy.
The four phase plan was developed in conjunction with the National Cabinet framework and is based on the best health advice for Western Australia.
Phase 1 is already in place following the cautious relaxing of some restrictions from April 27, 2020, to allow families and friends to stay connected.
Phase 2 will focus on encouraging Western Australians to return to work, unless they are unwell or vulnerable, so the WA economy can further rebuild in a safe and measured way.
It will come into effect from Monday, May 18 (or 11.59pm on Sunday, May 17), giving businesses and families time to plan accordingly, and includes:
- indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings lifted to 20 people;
- people are encouraged to return to work, unless they are unwell or vulnerable;
- cafés and restaurants can reopen with meal service (including within pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and casino), limited to 20 patrons and the four square metre rule applied;
- weddings and funerals, limited to up to 20 attendees (30 for outdoor);
- places of worship, community facilities and libraries to re-open, limited to 20 patrons;
- community sports (non-contact) limited to 20 people;
- outdoor or indoor fitness classes (minimal shared equipment) limited to 20 participants;
- public swimming pools can open under strict rules (one indoor pool and one outdoor pool), limited to 20 patrons per pool.
If businesses or premises want to reopen they will be required to complete an official COVID Safety Plan. More details on this will be released shortly, in consultation with industry.
As part of Phase 2, regional travel restrictions will also change, bringing the number of current borders within Western Australia from 13 to only four (not including the Commonwealth Biosecurity zone and remote communities). The new regional boundaries will allow:
- travel between the South-West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt, Perth and Peel regions;
- travel between the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions (excluding Biosecurity zone);
- travel within the Goldfields-Esperance region (excluding the Biosecurity zone);
- travel permitted within the Kimberley local government areas (the Commonwealth’s Biosecurity zone remains in place).
Phase 3 will be finalised in the coming weeks, based on the advice from the Chief Health Officer and will take into account the infection rates across WA. It is expected Phase 3 will be implemented around four weeks from the commencement of Phase 2.
Phase 3 will focus on continuing to build stronger links within the community and include further resumption of commercial and recreational activities, including:
- further increases in the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings, including patrons at cafés and restaurants, weddings and funerals;
- possible further relaxation of regional travel restrictions;
- restrictions further relaxed for gyms, health clubs and indoor sport centres;
- contact community sport (indoor and outdoor) permitted, with gathering limits;
- beauty therapy and personal care services permitted;
- auction houses and real estate auctions (not just online as it is currently); and
- public playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment, skate parks, zoos, cinemas, galleries, museums and concert venues permitted to open, with gathering limits.
Phase 4 will be assessed and finalised in due course.
Western Australia’s hard border with the rest of Australia will remain in place, and is expected to be the final restriction lifted.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the McGowan Government has invested more than
$1.8 billion in measures to support Western Australian households and businesses.
This includes payroll tax relief for small and medium sized businesses, waiving licence fees for the most affected occupations and sectors, assistance with utility bills and land tax grants for landlords who provide rent relief to significantly impacted tenants. Further measures will be considered as the roadmap is rolled out.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Western Australia is ready to take the next step in our COVID-19 recovery.
“The WA roadmap is our plan to start getting Western Australians back to work within a ‘COVID safe economy’.
“We have been able to get to this point thanks to the efforts of all Western Australians, who have gone above and beyond to do the right thing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Our hard borders and our isolation have worked to our advantage and we must keep it that way.
“This phased approach allows us to carefully monitor COVID-19 in WA, and ease restrictions in a way that supports our economy, with the smallest risk to the community’s health.
“It might not meet everyone’s expectation, but we are doing what we can to carefully get businesses up and going that have been devastated by the impacts of COVID-19.
“The resumption of dine-in services at cafés and restaurants is an important step forward in our State’s recovery. These are some of the hardest hit local businesses, and I feel deeply for those who have been forced to close and staff who have lost their job.
“Our intrastate travel restrictions have been a harsh, but a necessary measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 around our State.
“We understand they have been inconvenient and challenging, and by removing most of the boundaries, I expect many Western Australians will now be able to reconnect with loved ones, and some tourism operations can resume.
“Let me be clear – we will continue to take a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions, based on the best of health advice. This approach has served us well so far, and has seen WA lead the nation in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will closely monitor the situation over the coming week and if needed, due to a COVID-19 outbreak, we will reassess the commencement of Phase 2.”
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“Our roadmap has been developed specifically to help get some businesses going, while maintaining strict health guidelines to ensure Western Australians are kept safe.
“It takes into account the Western Australian community’s world-leading response to COVID-19, that has seen WA maintain consistently low numbers of new COVID-19 cases and success in reducing the spread of the virus.
“It allows for health experts to review the impact of the changes, before we move to the next phase of restrictions being lifted.
“Implementing these phases relies on each and every Western Australian to continue to practice good social distancing and good personal hygiene.”