Premier Mark McGowan announced a major relaxation of COVID measures this evening following a meeting of State Disaster Council.
Under the new rules, masks will remain mandatory in public but only indoors, on public transport and outside when physical distancing is not possible – such as at major sporting events.
Maximum capacity at major sporting venues such as Optus Stadium and RAC Arena will be lifted to 75 per cent.
The 4sqm rule will only apply to nightclubs, which can re-open from midnight tomorrow with masks mandatory.
Indoor and outdoor community sport can resume and weddings and funerals can go ahead with up to 200 guests.
The maximum limit for private gatherings at people’s homes has been lifted to 30.
Outdoor gatherings can take place with up to 500 people without a COVID event plan and one household can visit a patient per day in a hospital, aged care or disability facility.
All other “interim” restrictions announced on Monday will be removed.
The relaxed measures come after a fifth consecutive day with no locally acquired cases and more than 50,000 tests since more than two million West Australians were plunged into a snap three-day lockdown on Friday.
Mr McGowan said the last day a person infected with coronavirus was known to have mixed with the broader community was April 23, which meant the full 14-day incubation period had not yet passed.
“That is the reasoning behind the approach we will take until next Friday,” Mr McGowan said, adding West Australians should not be surprised if one or more of the 399 close contacts of the three people infected as part of the latest outbreak returned positive tests in coming days.
The Premier also announced the introduction of a $2000 grants program for small businesses that have been “highly impacted by the lockdown”.
“Grants of $2,000 will be available to support businesses that meet the eligibility criteria but have incurred direct costs because of the lockdown, such as loss of perishable goods,” Mr McGowan said.
Australian Hotels Association (WA) chief executive Bradley Woods said the “unreasonable conditions” during the lockdown had taken a “real toll on the mental health of those working the hospitality industry” .
“After a week of either being closed or operating at a very limited capacity, WA’s pubs, bars, taverns and restaurants now have trading conditions that are a step closer to normality,” Mr Woods said.
“We implore the people of WA to have a meal and a drink or two at their local this weekend, which will help support the recovery of businesses who yet again made significant sacrifices to keep us safe.”
The Premier said WA’s “elimination strategy” had worked that snap lockdowns continued to prove effective.
“I know lockdowns and heavy restrictions are hard,” he said.
“Putting Perth and Peel into lockdown and causing businesses hardship is the last thing I wanted to do – but the alternative is not worth the risk.”
The Health Department reported four new COVID-19 cases today, all travellers who had recently returned from India and are currently in hotel quarantine.
WA has recorded a surge of cases from the south Asian country over the past fortnight, with the State’s weekly overseas arrival cap halved to 512 from today.
Last week’s lockdown was triggered when the deadly virus was transmitted from a returned Indian traveller to guests in two other rooms at the Mercure Hotel, one of whom had already returned a negative day 12 test and was unwittingly released from quarantine while infectious.
The Mercure and Four Points by Sheraton will next month be removed from the quarantine system after they were identified as “high risk” of COVID transmission because of inadequate ventilation.
A third high-risk hotel, the Novotel, will transition to a facility for very low-risk seasonal workers only.
The Government is investigating options for a new quarantine facility, with the Master Builders Association president David Crothers estimating a 1000-bed hub situation just outside Perth could be ready in 15 months at a cost of about $20 million.