We did it, Canberra!
The ACT came out of lockdown at midnight last night, so a couple of things have changed.
Here are some answers to some of your most asked questions.
How many people can I have over?
Five people and, unlike in NSW, visitation is not contingent on vaccination status.
The Chief Minister has also said that while young children under 12 are not included in the limit, he’s not encouraging people to break the spirit of the rules by inviting as many people over as possible.
Can I get a haircut?
Yes! Finally. If you let your locks down during lockdown, you’ll be glad to know hairdressers and other personal services such as beauticians can open to a maximum of five clients at a time.
How many people can I meet for a picnic?
A maximum of 25 people can gather outside.
Do I still have to wear a mask?
Yep. The mask mandate is still in place.
Can I go to the pub?
Yes. Licensed venues, cafes and restaurants can open for seated service. They can have either a maximum of 25 people across the venue or one person per four square metres (whichever is greater). If outdoors only, businesses can have 50 patrons or one person per four square metres (whichever is greater).
Can I go to the gym?
If you want to – gyms can open with a strict density limit of 25 people at a time. Swimming pools can also open for lessons or two swimmers per lane with a maximum of 25 swimmers or one per four square metres.
Change rooms and showers are closed, though.
Outdoor sport can also resume with some limits in place.
Can I visit a friend or relative in aged care?
Yes. Up to two vaccinated visitors can visit a resident every day.
Should I go back to the office?
Not really. At this stage, the ACT’s official policy is to have a gradual return to work where it suits you and your employer.
Can I go camping?
Yes. Accommodation, campgrounds, caravan parks and campsites can open. However, there is a lot of rain forecast, so keep that in mind when making your weekend plans.
Can I buy some shoes or a car?
Yes. Retail businesses like shoe and clothes shops and car dealerships can have two people from the same household in the store at any one time with a booked appointment.
All non-essential retail can still operate as a click and collect or click and deliver service.
Can I travel to NSW?
Yes. As of midnight last night, NSW health authorities eased COVID-19 restrictions for people entering NSW, effectively making Canberrans subject to the same rules as people in regional NSW.
People entering from the ACT will no longer need to complete a declaration form on entry into NSW or follow any kind of stay-at-home rules on arrival.
There’s a big caveat, however. Canberrans who travel beyond the ACT’s ‘border bubble’, say to the South Coast or Sydney, would need to apply to ACT Health for an exemption to return to their home and then likely quarantine upon arrival.
South Coast residents also cannot travel to the ACT without applying for this exemption. Greater Sydney remains off-limits for ACT residents and all regional NSW residents at this stage.
Travel around regional NSW, visiting a friend’s house and entry into many venues is contingent on full vaccination, unlike in the ACT.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has already said border compliance activities will continue after Friday, so it’s imperative you keep on doing the right thing.
Can my kids go back to school?
If you’ve gone back to work because of the changes in these restrictions, then the answer is yes. On Monday, 18 October, year 11s will join year 12s on campus, but everyone else has to wait a bit longer.
I’m an apprentice, can I go back to work?
Anything else I should know?
Capacity limits on events and facilities such as funerals, weddings, organised outdoor training, gaming and gambling venues, libraries, community centres or facilities, and outdoor auctions have also changed. See ACT Health for details.
The Chief Minister said that every business that can operate from Friday will need a COVID-safe plan.
How will our contact tracing operate? What will I do if I’m a close contact?
From Friday, positive cases and close contacts will still need to quarantine, but if you’re only a household contact of a close contact, you won’t have to.
Authorities will no longer list ‘monitor for symptoms’ exposure sites online, nor list all casual contact exposure sites.
On Wednesday, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said that vaccination will now do the heavy lifting for the Territory and testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine will be scaled back.
Anyone with symptoms is urged to get tested.
Stay safe, Canberra!