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SA border restrictions to be lifted on July 20


All South Australian interstate border restrictions will be lifted on July 20, with rules for travellers from some jurisdictions likely to be eased even sooner.

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Premier Steven Marshall announced today that the transition committee, which met today, had decided that all state border restrictions could be lifted next month.

However, before that date, the state would consider removing self-isolation requirements for jurisdictions that don’t pose a health risk to South Australians.

Those jurisdictions could include the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia, where efforts to contain the virus have been equally as successful as those in SA.

“All three jurisdictions have done exceptionally well with managing coronavirus so there’s opportunity for us to consider alleviating those requirements to quarantine for 14 days,” Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said.

“If the advice allows us to do so, that’s what we’ll be looking to do.”

The Premier also announced that from next Friday, the restriction of 20 people per room in venues like pubs and restaurants, would be lifted to 75 as long as there was enough room to maintain a density of one person per four square metres. The total maximum for venues would be lifted to 300.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the new 75-person limit would apply to gyms, but indicated there would be a cap on fitness classes.

“For a fixed gymnasium, where you’ve got fixed pieces of equipment and the room is big enough, we’d be happy to go up to 75 (people) – but obviously you would need a fairly big room to accomodate that number,” Spurrier said.

“In a fitness class you’re moving around, if you’ve got an increased respiratory rate and so there is an increased risk of transmission in those particular settings.”

In stage three – which would kick in from June 29 instead of July 3 – the person limit would be abolished and replaced simply with a density requirement of one person per four square metres.

“South Australia has done extraordinarily well and that’s why we’ve been able to lift these restrictions,” Marshall said.

“We’re taking a very gradual and careful approach. COVID-19 has been hugely disruptive to almost every single person on this planet.”

SA recorded no new cases of COVID-19 today.

South Australia’s new rules were announced after a meeting of national cabinet.

Echoing some of SA’s announcements, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the 100-person cap on indoor venues will be scrapped, allowing more people to attend gatherings such as weddings and funerals.

Pubs and restaurants will be included in the new limit, along with most other venues and workplaces, but nightclubs will not.

The size of the space will be crucial, with one person allowed for every four square metres.

Small sports stadiums with capacities of 40,000 or less will be allowed to sell 10,000 ticketed seats per event.

The rule relaxation will also apply to big arts and cultural venues, along with ticketed and seated outdoor festivals.

Queensland’s border could open on July 10, with the state government indicating a date after weeks of pressure from federal government members.

Western Australia, which unlike Queensland is not in an election year, has escaped the same level of attacks despite maintaining a harder line.

Morrison says he expects WA to be the final state to open for interstate travel, possibly not in line with national cabinet’s July time frame.

He says Premier Mark McGowan had argued keeping the borders shut had allowed more relaxed restrictions in almost all other areas.

“He also understands the importance of the growth of the national economy and Western Australia has been a very good partner in all of the things we have done,” Morrison said on Friday.

State borders are also shaping as a key issue as universities look at ways to get international students back into the country.

“If you can’t come to your state from Sydney, then no one’s coming to your state from Singapore,” Morrison said.

“If you want to open up borders for international students, you have to open up borders for Australians.”

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said protests planned for the weekend were dangerous.

“You cannot make them safe,” he said.

“Despite all the attempts of organisers to try and make them safe, those sort of events where people are crowded together and where we don’t know who is there, are inherently unsafe.”

Morrison has argued progress on easing restrictions is being hampered by Black Lives Matter protests defying health advice on mass gatherings.

“This is not about the issue that people are raising, this is about people’s health and welfare,” he said.

A man who attended last weekend’s rally in Melbourne has tested positive for the disease but it could take weeks to determine whether others were infected.

Coronavirus infections have remained low across the country, with only a small amount of community transmission.

– with AAP

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