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SA COVID restrictions to ease tonight despite Queensland concerns

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Restrictions on density caps across South Australia’s pubs, nightclubs, dancefloors and restaurants will ease as planned from midnight tonight – and restrictions on private functions at licensed venues will be eased further – after the transition committee confirmed no change to plans despite concerns about two growing COVID clusters in Queensland.

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From 12:01am on Wednesday, businesses will be able to host at 75 per cent capacity, churches and cinemas at 100 per cent and dancefloor restrictions will be eased on all venues hosting up to 1000 people.

The transition committee also decided this morning to increase the number of patrons who can attend a private function at a licensed venue from 200 to 1000 people – bringing it in line with other events at licensed premises.

The decision to ease restrictions comes after Queensland this morning reported eight new local COVID-19 cases, six of which are close contacts of confirmed cases while two others are currently under investigation and believed to be historic infections.

There are now two local clusters in Queensland totalling 15 cases. There are 78 active cases in the state.

Despite SA Health last week advising against lifting the density cap, Deputy Police Commissioner Linda Williams said this morning SA Health provided no advice to halt the scheduled restrictions lift.

“There was obviously a healthy level of discussion regarding what’s occurring in Queensland, but there was no tension points and the public activities direction will come into effect at one minute past midnight,” she told reporters.

Williams said “there was no argument” at the committee over the decision, and the focus of the meeting was on clarifying the direction to “make sure that it made sense to the community”.

“[The direction] is largely unchanged, there are some small variations which actually have probably more of a positive impact,” she said.

“One of those has to do with private functions in licensed venues, they were going to remain at 200 but they will be lifted to 1000 to make them consistent with other activities in licensed venues.

“I think that’s a commonsense approach.”

There are no changes to South Australia’s current border arrangements with Queensland, after travellers from Greater Brisbane were locked out of South Australia from 5pm yesterday afternoon.

The travel ban applies to those in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan City, Redland City and the Moreton Bay region, with exemption only applying for returning SA residents, essential travellers, people permanently relocating or fleeing domestic violence.

Asked whether there was a timeframe for when broader restrictions on Queensland traveller could be imposed, Williams said it was a “day by day proposition”.

“Everything remains as is from 4pm last night – there’s no change to that,” Williams said.

“We’ll be updated every day by Health as to the unfolding circumstances and whether that impacts us or not.”

There are also now seven cases linked to a party in Byron Bay in New South Wales, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian saying the state needs to “brace ourselves” for new cases.

The SA-NSW border was not a point of discussion at the transition committee meeting, according to Williams.

The deputy police commissioner also added there is an announcement “forthcoming” from SA Health about the vaccine rollout.

SA Health has administered 22,687 vaccines as of Monday this week.

Meanwhile, the Gold Coast Suns this morning arrived in Adelaide on a charter flight for their clash against the Crows on Good Friday.

The AFL ordered the Suns to fly across the border earlier than scheduled, even though the Gold Coast is not currently listed as a COVID-hotspot.

SA Health reported two new COVID-19 cases on Monday, both returned travellers from overseas who tested positive in a medi-hotel.

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