Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 26 JULY 2021

Premier Peter Gutwein

Good afternoon. With me Jane Howlett, the Minister for Sport, on what is a golden day for Tasmania. Fantastic day.

Now, I do want to offer in the beginning of this COVID update, I think it's appropriate to offer huge congratulations on behalf of all Tasmanians to Ariane Titmus, her family.

What a sensational swim, what a sensational outcome.

And Ariarne, I want you to know, that Tasmania was right behind you during the swim, and believe me, we are right behind you now.

I just want to say to all of the Tasmanian athletes, and all the Australian athletes, we wish you all the very best as the Games proceed, but what a sensational day four Ariarne, the Titmus family and Tasmania more broadly.

In terms of the COVID update, we've continue to act swiftly to manage our borders in response to COVID-19, and I'd like to provide Tasmanians with an update on the status of our border restrictions, following developments across the country today.

Pleasingly, both Victoria and South Australia have today indicated that they are on track to ease their lockdowns from midnight tomorrow night.

While no final decisions have been made, both states have done a good job staying on top of their respective outbreaks, and my advice from Public Health, post AHPPC, is that they are both in a good place.

And the expectation is, obviously things can change, but the expectation would be that we would see their restrictions in terms of their lockdowns lifted tomorrow night.

Today, Victoria's reported 11 cases, pleasingly all of which were in quarantine during the infectious period, and South Australia has recorded just one case.

For now, our border restrictions with both states will remain unchanged, and Tasmania's Public Health authorities will review the situation and risk level in both states over coming days, and we'll look to update the community as soon as we can on any easing in our travel restrictions.

Queensland we continue to monitor, and that is obviously being managed by hotspots at the moment.

There are a significant number of hotspots, and so I would suggest to anybody that has been in, certainly in southeast Queensland and is travelling to ensure that they keep a close eye on both the Queensland website, but also the Tasmanian website, and ensure that if they've been to a hotspot and they are in Tasmania, that they contact the Public Health hotline and take appropriate action, as informed by Public Health.

In terms of New South Wales, unfortunately, the news is not encouraging.

With another 145 cases confirmed today, 51 of which were infectious in the community.

At the moment they are in a very difficult fight, and we wish them well.

It's going to be very difficult and challenging as this progresses.

Importantly, in terms of Tasmania, from midnight Saturday night, we further increased our border restrictions with New South Wales, declaring the whole of that state has high risk Level 1.

This has removed the ability for the 14-days quarantine for those travellers who are returning home to be undertaken in home quarantine.

Instead, quarantine must now be completed in a government-designated accommodation facility which is at the traveller’s cost.

We need to protect our community, and whilst this is raging in New South Wales, we want to ensure that we do everything that we can to keep Tasmanians safe.

Importantly, as a result of the improving situation that we're seeing in Victoria, and also the fact that Queensland appears to be well managed, I just want to speak briefly about the football for the coming weekend.

This weekend, we have an AFL match scheduled to be played at Blundstone Arena between North Melbourne and Geelong, and this will be going ahead.

Public Health has been working closely with both teams and the AFL, and that game will proceed under the same COVID-safe precautions that were put in place for other matches that have been held in Tasmania this season, which would see both teams fly in and out on the day under very strict COVID rules, and they have obviously had very strict COVID management in their jurisdiction.

I'm also pleased to announce that after discussion between Public Health, the State Control Centre, the Hawthorn Football Club and the AFL, a second game will now be held in Tasmania this weekend, on Sunday at UTAS stadium, between the Hawks and the Brisbane Lions.

The Melbourne teams will fly in and out of Tasmania on the day of the game, and both games are subject to the COVID risk continuing to go in the right direction over the course of this week.

I want to make this point that if we were to see a sudden departure, a right-angle shift in terms of the outcome of the current testing and tracking regime in both Victoria or in Queensland, that obviously we’ll rely on public health, but at this point in time, we've got confidence that these games will go ahead.

In terms of crowd size, in light of the national circumstance and the increased risk that we are seeing across the country, Public Health are comfortable with crowds, but we will limit the crowd up to 10,000 spectators at either match, and that will be 10,000 seated spectators.

The other matter that I want to raise is that if you're coming to the footy this weekend, you will need to wear a mask.

This is the first time that this has been required for football.

The mask-wearing requirement is something obviously we put in place for other large events, like Festival of Voices, but we believe it's an important and additional safety measure for an event where a larger group of people are attending.

What this means is that we're going to have a blockbuster weekend of football with up to 10,000 seated spectators at each game.

This will be a great opportunity for Tasmanians to get out and about across the state, support their local businesses and, importantly, support the tourism and hospitality sector who are obviously feeling the impact of the Victorian, South Australian and New South Wales lockdowns at the moment.

And so, if you're coming on the weekend and are going to attend the football, bring your beanie, bring your scarf and bring your mask.

It'll be, for some, a different set of circumstances.

Some people may not have worn a mask, if they haven't flown or been to hospital over the course of the period or to the Festival of Voices, but this weekend, you'll need to wear a mask.

And in terms of vaccination, I just want to acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of Tasmanians who are continuing to get vaccinated, and make the point that that is the most important safeguard that we have, and I'd encourage Tasmanians to continue to get vaccinated.

Over the weekend, we hit another important milestone, with more than 200,000 Tasmanians now having received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Importantly now, there have been more than 300,000 jabs into arms, and we now have more than 93,000 Tasmanians that are fully vaccinated as well.

So, thank you, and let's keep up the good work.

We've certainly have more to do. Book your vaccination today, ensure that you have an appointment set up, but do continue to do the right things.

The most important thing that we can do personally is to take responsibility, make sure that we have good hand hygiene, that we sanitise, socially distance, use the check-in TAS app when you're attending venues. Ensure that you continue to do those little things that will keep you, your family and your community safe.

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