Restrictions ease for businesses in the ACT, stadiums back to full seated capacity

Dominic Giannini 19 February 2021 1
Passionate Raiders fans

GIO Stadium can now use 100 per cent of its seated capacity. Photo: Jennifer Andrew.

COVID-19 restrictions for businesses in the ACT will ease from 9:00 am Saturday (20 February), but more stringent contact tracing measures will be put in place, such as the mandatory use of the Check In CBR app for some businesses.

Major changes include more people being allowed in venues, spectators being able to stand while eating and drinking, and seating at stadiums like GIO and Manuka Oval returning to full capacity.

The relaxed restrictions will now enable businesses to have 25 people across their venue, with the one person per two square metre rule applying for every person after this, while the cap of 500 people within each space will be removed.

Event organisers can also apply for events and gatherings of up to 10,000 people, up from 8,000, and the number of people who can gather outdoors without needing an exemption has doubled to 1000, providing the one person per two square metre rule is adhered to.

Cinemas and movie theatres can use 75 per cent of each theatre’s seated capacity if ACT Health has signed off on their COVID-safety plan; otherwise, theatres can only operate at 65 per cent capacity.

Large indoor performance venues with forward-facing, tiered and ticketed seating can have events at 75 per cent capacity, but patrons must be seated, and a COVID-19 safety plan must be in place.

The National Convention Centre can also have up to 75 per cent capacity and multi-day events will now be permitted.

These restrictions will likely remain in place for at least the next few months, ACT Health said.

Businesses will have until 6 March to register to use the app and it will be mandatory for customers to check-in from that date.

The Check In CBR app.

The Check In CBR app will be mandatory from 6 March. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

These businesses include cafés, restaurants, clubs, beauty salons, hairdressers, adult services, swimming pools, fitness centres, cultural institutions, gaming and gambling venues, and entertainment venues.

Minister for Business and Better Regulation Tara Cheyne said making the app mandatory will help increase compliance rates.

“Canberrans have already been so supportive of our compliance activities because they know that local businesses rely on us all doing the right thing,” she said.

“By mandating the use of Check In CBR for both businesses and patrons, we will be much better able to enter the next phase of our economic recovery.”

Around 6,500 venues have already registered and it’s been downloaded 335,000 times. There are around 45,000 check-ins across the Territory every day.


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One Response to Restrictions ease for businesses in the ACT, stadiums back to full seated capacity
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HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:45 pm 19 Feb 21

With the vaccine roll-out about to begin, and with no community transmission of the virus in Canberra for many months (even when there were opportunities for that to happen from outbreaks in other cities), the need now for this heavy-handed mandating of the check-in app is not entirely clear.

To state the obvious, a check-in app is about contact tracing – it does not stop people from catching the virus at a particular venue, so the easing of restrictions from 20 February should have been decided on the basis of a judgement that the risks of transmission are so low that it is now safe for one set of (necessarily) arbitrary restrictions to be replaced with another less onerous set of arbitrary restrictions – not because it’s OK for people to risk catching the virus as long as we can trace their contacts.

The latter attitude would, among other things, be a prelude to re-opening of international borders, with limited regard for progress with vaccination across the world, and before it’s clear whether vaccines will be effective against variant strains of the virus. That might seem crazy after the huge price Australia has paid to get to where we are, but there is clearly building pressure for that to happen.

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