Australia’s most vaccinated region is returning to almost pre-pandemic levels of freedom on Friday as restrictions are set to be lifted across the ACT.
With 95% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, ACT is one of the most vaccinated places on the planet. The ACT Health Department has said that they expect to reach almost total vaccination levels by the end of November.
Restrictions were initially intended to lift at the end of the month, however, as the rollout progressed so quickly, the opening has been brought forward to Friday, 12 November.
Technically coming into play at 11:59pm on Thursday, the changes peel back even further the relatively moderate restrictions that Canberrans had become accustomed to. The incoming changes will represent a new ‘baseline’ of public health orders that are likely to stay until the end of January next year when they will be reviewed again.
The ACT Chief Health Minister Andrew Barr has said that “Canberrans should be incredibly proud of how we have responded to this pandemic” ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.
“We are tracking towards close to 100 percent vaccination coverage by the end of this month.”
So, here’s everything you’ll be able to do in ACT from Friday:
ACT New Restrictions
Barr has predicted a spectacular summer for Canberrans as almost all restrictions fall away.
From Friday, household visitor and outdoor gathering caps will be lifted entirely while entertainment venues practically return to normal.
Indoor and outdoor venues will only be limited in capacity by density rules, with all spaces operating on the one person per square metre rule. Fixed seating venues like stadiums and theatres will return to 100% capacity however, regardless of the density rules.
The same density rules apply for retail spaces and hospitality venues that will have caps lifted as well. Drinking while standing will be allowed once again and nightclubs will be fully back in action with dancing allowed.
Gym and dance classes will also have their caps lifted.
Travel exemption requirements will however remain in place for areas deemed ‘high-risk’ areas across Australia. These are constantly changing but are primarily locations in NSW and VIC as well as some spots in QLD. You can check the latest restrictions here.
The rules for face masks are also changing. While it won’t be compulsory to wear them in most locations, ACT Health is “strongly encouraging” their use in crowded settings, indoor gatherings, and places where social distancing is impossible.
You will still need to wear masks in medical settings and aged care facilities, while on public transport and at the airport, as well as on flights and some business settings. Masks will also need to still be worn indoors at schools for those in year seven upwards.
The ACT went into lockdown on 12 August. On Wednesday, 10 November, the territory recorded 9 new COVID-19 cases.