15 October 2021

Lockdown's finished – so, what can I do today?

| Lottie Twyford
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Woman walking along Lake near Sir Robert Menzies statue.

For now, masks will remain a reality for Canberrans. Photo: Michelle Kroll. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

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.

Man cutting another man's hair

How are your locks looking after lockdown? Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

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.

Man shaking a cocktail

#lockycockys are hopefully a thing of the past. Photo: Magoo’s Cafe & Bar.

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).

Club Lime class

If you’ve let the COVID kilos pile on, you’ll be glad to hear the gyms are open again. Photo: Viva Leisure (photo taken pre-COVID).

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.

READ MORE Don’t plan too much for the end of lockdown, heavy rain is on the way

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.

Map of Canberra and surrounds

The expanded border bubble from ACT’s point of view. Image: ACT Health.

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.

Female apprentice

Apprentices can return to work from Friday. Photo: Region Media.

I’m an apprentice, can I go back to work?

Sure can.

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!

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The anti-authoritarian, stick it up the establishment, hippie-inspired social movement of the Sixties has come full circle with the lefties in control now trying to outdo each other in their authoritarian eagerness to impose and maintain restrictions on the rest of us for as long as possible. All for our own good of course. Once were revolutionaries. Now it’s do what you’re told, mask up, sign in, stop work, stay home, keep away, don’t touch, don’t visit, get jabbed, show proof, don’t question, just obey, because we’re the establishment and we’ll tell you what to think and do.

The last time I looked, the righties are in power federally, in the most populous state NSW, and in SA and Tas. They’ve all invoked various public health measures, with Tasmania almost as strict as WA in restricting movement in and out of the state, and SA not too far behind. The feds were fairly quick off the mark restricting flights in and out of the country, with their “India solution” preventing residents from returning to their home country a particular standout in that regard.

Next time, you might want to ponder the meaning of “public health emergency” before attempting any “ohhhh lookit the lefties” rant.

With one of the highest vaccinations in the world, I think the ACT Government should relax the restrictions more and align with NSW. We are for all intents and purposes an extended National Capital Region. Having such discrepancies with Queanbeyan will just mean people will ignore the ACT rules. I mean, under the current plan a traveller will be able to return to Sydney and not quarantine about the same time we will be able to go Bunnings.

That’s for first dose. Many people still need to have their second doses, and then a couple of weeks for the immunity. Let people get their second dose before advocating exposing people to infection.

Why should everyone stay locked up because some haven’t had a second injection? If an individual is concerned about being exposed, stay home and wait until your second injection kicks in. It’s about time we took responsibility for our own health again.

realopos: Think of others beside yourself. Not everyone could get their doses early, and had to wait their turn for their bookings to come.
Maybe you will relate better to this. If we fully open up too soon, the hospitals might be overrun with Covid cases, and put even more pressure on YOUR taxes, rates, etc to go up and you will need to pay more. Then more lock downs might be reimposed on you. (Other people as well, but you made your answer about you!)

Besides I wasn’t locked up. What did you do to be locked up?

Every person in any high risk group has had months to get Vaccinated.

We are now at the point where those not vaccinated fully are either in much lower risk groups or have chosen not to get Vaccinated.

Those that aren’t fully vaccinated are still free to stay home until they get their second shot but it’s beyond time that they should be able to hold the rest of us hostage.

We are flying past the vaccination thresholds for reopening in the models, time to reenter the world.

Those who choose to be hermits are welcome to continue doing so.

Who’s staying at home? I have been out cycling, and walking around the local area and in local bushland.

Good for you.

So you now agree that we should open up so people can enjoy what they like doing just like you are.

Good to have you on board.

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