Health chief postpones further easing of restrictions

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IN response to the quickly evolving situation in Victoria, ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman says Canberra will postpone moving to stage three easing of restrictions. 

The postponement comes after Chief Minister Andrew Barr, yesterday (July 8) morning, announced a number of further restrictions, which would have been eased midday, tomorrow. Later that afternoon, three coronavirus cases were recorded in the ACT, followed by a fourth today. 

In postponing the restrictions, Dr Coleman says: “We don’t know what the full impact of [Victoria] will be for ACT”

“The situation that is unfolding in Victoria is concerning and has resulted in four new confirmed cases in the last two days here in the ACT,” she says.

“With the border restrictions here in the ACT and in NSW only coming into effect earlier this week, we need time to assess how effective they will be in slowing the spread of the virus.

“We currently have 168 people who have returned to the ACT and are now in quarantine either at home or in hotels and we are also working through approximately 400 requests to enter the ACT, from both residents and non-residents. It is possible there will be new cases emerging from these returning travellers in the coming weeks and we need to be in a position to respond quickly.” 

At this time, step 2.2 restrictions will remain in place with another check point to be conducted in two weeks’ time to reassess the current situation in the ACT. This means all business and community activities currently in place can continue unchanged.

If stage three went ahead tomorrow, it would have allowed venues to cater for 25 patrons, or one person per 4sqm of usable space (whichever is greater). 50sqm, 75sqm and 100sqm venues could have had a maximum of 25 people across the venue, 120sqm venues could have had 30 people, and 200sqm venues could have had a maximum of 50 people.

As part of stage three, gyms would have been allowed to operate on a 24 hour basis with a maximum of 25 people, there would have been an increase to ticketed sporting events, and gaming and gambling venues would have been allowed to reopen.

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