January 31, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: Tourism Australia

Since Friday, one state has eased restrictions, one territory has extended restrictions while the other has tightened restrictions for locals but abolished travel testing while in Western Australia sweeping rules on vaccination have come into play today across the state.

South Australia has reduced restrictions on indoor hospitality settings in the state, increasing capacity to 50 percent or one person per two square metres indoors, bringing indoor and outdoor settings in line with each other. Since boxing day, density limits had been at one person per four square metres indoors. Density limits in non-seated non-hospitality settings – presumably covering event settings which don’t come under hospitality – are now also at one per two square metres indoors. Consumption of food and beverages remains seated only, which impacts event settings.

In the national capital, Canberra has extended its current density limits until February 25, which include one person per two square metres indoors in hospitality venues and indoor events, no dancing indoors at hospitality venues and seated consumption of food and beverage both indoors and outdoors. Events with over 1,000 attendees must be ticketed or pre-registered, while events of between 1,000 and 2,000 attendees must submit their COVID Safety plan to ACT Health. Events with more than 2,000 attendees still need to apply for an exemption to proceed, although there is no hard cap for event sizes.

Meanwhile in the Northern Territory, the government has put an outdoor mask mandate in place until February 5, which joins an existing mask mandate for all indoor public spaces. However, the territory is also abolishing the testing regime in place for interstate arrivals from tomorrow – previously those travelling from interstate were required to take a series of rapid antigen tests upon arrival into the region. The state has maintained its requirement for all travellers to be fully vaccinated – unvaccinated people wishing to travel into the NT are not permitted unless by exemption and need to undertake 14 days supervised quarantine at their own expense.

Finally, in Western Australia, vaccination mandates for entry into a variety of social and public settings come into full force from today – parts of the state, including the capital, Perth, had already partially transitioned to these arrangements due to the current Omicron outbreak there. Under the new rules, full vaccination is required to enter a variety of settings, including hospitality, indoor entertainment environments, indoor events with over 500 people and outdoor music festivals over 500 attendees outdoors. The Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Crown Complex as well as sports stadiums have all been specifically tagged as vaccinated-only settings.