Premier Peter Gutwein
So far, the new arrangements for our borders have been running smoothly, and it’s great that we are able to welcome back New South Wales.
Earlier this week, I was to provide an update on the situation with Victoria.
Now, things continue to look positive, approaching a full week of zero cases in terms of community cases, and we’re hopeful that soon we’ll be able to announce that people arriving back in Tasmania from Victoria will be able to quarantine at home, as opposed to quarantining in Government accommodation, and that will be the first step in reopening to that state.
We’re also hopeful at the moment, based on what appears to be an increasingly better set of numbers out of Victoria, that we may be able to bring forward our reopening date with Victoria from 1st December, but Public Health will continue to monitor that situation and provide advice.
Today, I want to provide Tasmanians with more certainty about what a COVID-normal summer may look like, and so our summer social package to provide certainty is being announced today.
Obviously, in recent weeks, we’ve announced our events package which now provides for, you know, significantly larger events in a COVID-safe way to be undertaken and, importantly, the announcement that the Sydney to Hobart will go ahead, obviously in a COVID-safe way, is very positive for our state, and I did say yesterday morning at a press conference in terms of Big Bash cricket that it was fantastic to be able to stand up and talk about events that were going to go ahead, as opposed to on so many occasions where we’ve been talking about those things that couldn’t happen.
But I think those couple of major events that I’ve just mentioned certainly set the scheme for a very positive summer coming up.
Now, importantly, the internal restrictions that we’ve had to put in place will be necessary to protect the health and safety of Tasmanians, but we also need a pathway to return to a new COVID-normal way of living and especially over this summer.
Our summer social package contains three components to increase safety and certainty in terms of how we mix during summer.
They will strengthen contact tracing and enable us to ease restrictions in a safe way.
All along, Public Health’s strong guidance to hospitality venues has been to ensure that the details of their patrons are taken in the event that contact tracing is required.
As I mentioned yesterday, the vast majority of venues have embraced this, but we want to strengthen this requirement, and we’ll be making it mandatory from Friday 3rd, from Friday next week, to keep this information for 28 days.
At cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs where people can spend a reasonable amount of time and as our border restrictions continue to ease collecting patron information will be vital in curbing a potential outbreak in our state.
Consideration of further settings will be undertaken by Public Health in further weeks, and we’ll provide an update next Friday, if there are to be other settings that will be added to that list.
For those venues that do not already have a method of recording the required information, there’ll be a pro-forma contact tracing register available on the Worksafe website from the day that people can access, and further work done on an electronic solution, noting that already in marketplace there are a number of electronic solutions.
In terms of the detail, at a minimum the name, time of entry and a contact number will need to be provided.
And, importantly, it will only require one person in a group to sign in, and the information collected, as I said, will only include the name, phone number and date and time of entry.
Contact tracing is an important part of keeping our community safe, and it’s important that all Tasmanians provide correct information as part of that process and that all businesses treat that information sensitively for the purpose that it’s been provided, and it will be an offence if they choose to use it for other purposes.
And, as I’ve said, we’ll be framing up the direction, so that it’s a legal requirement that the information can only be used for the purposes for which it is being collected.
As I’ve said, the vast majority of our businesses have been operating and already collecting contact details.
From Friday of next week, this will be mandatory, and those businesses that I’ve named will need to do that.
The second component of our summer package will be to allow what many have coined as vertical drinking.
Now, and I want to be clear on this, from Friday of next week, vertical drinking in hospitality venues in their outdoor areas only will be allowed, so from Friday next week, vertical drinking in outdoor areas.
Now, this will be kept under review and, following this being implemented in a safe and satisfactory manner, further consideration will be given to relaxing the vertical drinking restrictions for indoor areas closer to Christmas.
The other matter that I want to touch on today as well in terms of the summer social package is that as Tasmanians plan for Christmas, we understand they need to have certainty about what the rules are for family gatherings in homes.
We will double the number of visitors permitted at household gatherings from 20 to 40 from Friday of next week as well, and that will be 40 people in excess of the people that live in the household.
I’ll handover to Dr Veitch now, but I do want to remind Tasmanians, you know, we are in a very good place.
The rest of the country, you know, is increasingly looking to be in a very good place, and the jurisdictions that we have opened to, as Public Health have advised, are safe jurisdictions, but it’s important that we all continue to do the right thing.
Physically distance, cover your coughs and colds, cover your sneezes, stay home if you’re unwell and, importantly, don’t hesitate to get a test, even if your symptoms are mild.
I’ll hand over to Dr Veitch.