Community transmission leads to new Covid-19 measures

Due to the increase of community transmission some new public health and social measures start on Monday prior to WA’s border re-opening next month.

AS community transmission increases the McGowan Government is introducing the 2sqm rule and some other public health and social measures starting next week prior to WA’s border re-opening next month.

Starting on Monday, February 21 at 6am Level 1 measures for Perth, Peel, South-West, Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Pilbara regions will apply.

An indoor mask mandate for all public indoor settings will be expanded state-wide starting on February 21 with Level 1 measures introduced to other regions in WA as Omicron spreads across the state.

Premier Mark McGowan said with WA achieving more than 95 per cent double dose vaccination and based on the latest health advice, bottle shops would be removed from proof of vaccination requirements immediately, ahead of a review of other proof of vaccination and contact registration measures.

In addition to the existing indoor mask requirements, proof of vaccination, contact registration and restrictions to remote Aboriginal communities, Level 1 measures also include:

  • home gatherings limited to a total of 30 people;
  • private outdoor gatherings (not at a private residence) limited to a total of 200 people;
  • 2sqm rule introduced for hospitality, fitness venues, entertainment venues, cultural venues, places of worship, hairdressers and beauty services;
  • 75 per cent capacity for seated entertainment venues (forward facing), such as theatres and cinemas;
  • 75 per cent capacity for major stadia such as Optus Stadium, RAC Arena, HBF Stadium (main area) and HBF Park;
  • 2sqm metre rule for Perth Crown Complex and seated service only on the casino gaming floor;
  • 500-person capacity limit at nightclubs, in addition to the two square metre rule;
  • visitation at residential aged care and disability care facilities, and hospitals limited to four visitors per patient/resident per day, exemptions for compassionate reasons;
  • Covid event checklists required for events with more than 500 patrons and less than 1000 patrons and Covid event plans required for big events with 1000 patrons and above;
  • Covid safety plans to be expanded to early childhood education and childcare services, hairdressers and barbers, and encouraged for all workplaces; and
  • workplaces should implement covid-19 safe settings to manage workforce impacts.

Further public health and social measures (Level 2) may be introduced in the future to help reduce increasing transmission of Covid-19 and hospitalisations, if necessary.

Level 2 may include measures such as mask wearing expanded to those in Year 3 and above, working from home advised for vulnerable people, Rapid Antigen Testing (RATs) for visitors at residential aged care and disability facilities, home gatherings reduced to a total of 10 people, and the 4sqm rule indoors and 2sqm rule outdoors for hospitality, fitness venues, indoor entertainment venues, cultural venues, places of worship, hairdressers and beauty services.

Mr McGowan said Omicron was in the community spreading through workplaces, schools and social settings and cases would jump significantly in the days ahead.

“Based on the latest health advice, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to introduce these measures in order to try to minimise the overall impact of Omicron and keep WA safe,’’ he said.

Mr McGowan said the months ahead would be bumpy for some, including for small businesses but he knew Western Australians would come together to protect themselves and each other – just as they had done before.

“Where possible, I ask Western Australians to support local business to back them through this next phase – whether it be a coffee in the morning, a dinner from your favourite local restaurant or through tickets to a show or the movies,’’ he said.

Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said the new public health measures were an important next step in the state’s pandemic response and now that Omicron cases were starting to rise it was vital to act swiftly.

“I understand some of these measures will be challenging, especially for businesses, but our health workers and the immunocompromised in our community are extremely grateful for your participation,’’ she said.

“Please also continue to keep up existing public health measures – check-in via SafeWA or ServiceWA, get vaccinated, wash your hands regularly and get tested if you feel unwell or have been to an exposure site.”

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