With a rise in COVID-19 infections across the territory, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is extending the lockdown that originally began August 12 until 11:59 pm on Friday, October 15. In addition to the extension, it was also announced that minor changes were being made to some of the current restrictions at the end of this week.
Beginning this Friday, September 17, the following changes will be made to current restrictions:
- Small businesses using the click-and-collect or delivery method of service will be permitted to have up to five people inside the establishment, or one person per four square metres — whichever is fewer. This is an increase from the previous allowance of two people inside. All businesses activities must continue to comply with COVID-19 requirements for non-essential retail.
- Recreational sporting activities (e.g. tennis, golf, rowing) can recommence, with up to five people. This does not include coaching, training, competition or indoor sport.
Restrictions that will remain in place until October 15 include:
- Residents may only leave home for essential reasons: shopping for groceries, accessing essential health care, for essential work, to exercise outdoors for up to two hours per day, to get tested for COVID-19 or to be vaccinated.
- Anyone aged 12 and up must wear a mask when not at home.
- Restaurants, cafes and food courts are closed except for take-away and delivery services.
- Cafes in hospitals, aged care homes, correctional centres or homeless shelters may remain open.
- Licensed venues and nightclubs are closed except for take-away services.
- Indoor and outdoor funerals are permitted with up to 20 people in attendance (excluding those necessary to conduct the funeral).
- Indoor and outdoor weddings are allowed with up to 10 people (excluding the celebrant and a photographer, but including those being married and two witnesses).
- Outdoor attractions such as zoos are closed.
- Theatres, concert venues, cinemas and convention venues are closed.
- Casinos and other gambling venues are closed.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr stated that with 22 new cases of the virus in ACT and a worrying number of cases in New South Wales, the only option is to extend the lockdown. Barr said some positive news is that Canberra has a high vaccination rate, and he again encouraged residents to get vaccinated.
"What we are certain of though, is a highly vaccinated Canberra is a safer Canberra," he said. "This is the safest path forward, and it will lead to a safer Christmas, a safer summer holiday period and a safer 2022."
The Australian Institute of Food Safety (AIFS) closely follows ongoing COVID-19 developments as they impact food businesses. We will continue to provide updates as they occur. Contact AIFS for more information.