Crowds of 30,000 at football games and drinking beers standing up are among the freedoms West Australians can enjoy from this Saturday, when the state enters Phase 4 of eased coronavirus restrictions.
WA Premier Mark McGowan says the state will have the “most open, the most active, the most vibrant economy in the country by not just a country mile, 100 country miles”.
“The other states are still struggling with various forms of lockdown.
“We are miles and miles in front of the other states and we are able to do that because we have the comfort of knowing that we can protect our citizens from infection from elsewhere.”
As a direct result of that comfort, from 11:59pm on June 26, WA will do away with its limits on public gatherings, which are currently capped at up to 300 people, depending on the setting.
Get excited — that means the days of queuing to get into your suburban local are numbered.
The limit on people allowed into venues will now be dictated by the state’s unique two-square-metre rule, requiring at least two square metres of floor space be afforded per patron.
In the rest of the country a four-square-metre rule remains in place.
Standing beers and dancing are back
People will no longer be required to provide their name and phone number to venues on arrival, with patron registers also set to become a thing of the past.
Security guards and bar staff will be relieved to stop telling patrons to stay in their seats with the requirement for people to remain seated while eating or drinking in venues to be scrapped.
“Yes, that means from Saturday we can all enjoy a beer standing up at the bar,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
This also means West Australians can soon dust off their dancing shoes and bust a move at pubs and clubs if they so desire.
Unseated performances at venues such as concert halls, bars and pubs will also return to social calendars.
But large, multi-stage music festivals still remain off limits.
Stadiums can fill up to 50 per cent
Large sporting complexes and entertainment venues, such as stadiums, will be allowed to operate on a 50 per cent capacity rule.
Which means events or sporting matches at the 60,000-seat Perth Stadium can accommodate up to 30,000 people, or Perth Arena could host up to 8,000 guests.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said those limits could be flexed up or down depending on the nature of the event.
Crown Casino in Perth will also be allowed to welcome gamblers back onto its gaming floor under agreed temporary restrictions, which include every second machine being turned off.
The owners of 24-hour gyms will be pleased, with gyms allowed to operate unstaffed once again — but regular cleaning will still be required.
Details of final stages revealed
The State Government has also revealed details for the rest of its planned road map back to normality through Phase 5 and 6.
On July 18 WA will enter Phase 5 which will see the two-square-metre rule scrapped altogether.
It is also expected all other gathering restrictions, including the 50 per cent capacity limit for major venues, will be canned along with other remaining COVID rules.
The only remaining restrictions from that date will be WA’s hard border with the rest of the country, and travel restrictions in place for remote Aboriginal communities.
Those are set to come down under Phase 6 of the road map which had originally been due to begin on August 8.
But that date has been scrapped in light of the rise in community transmission being seen in Victoria over recent days.
The Premier said he would have liked to have set that indicative date, but he could not because there was every chance it would not transpire.
Mr McGowan remained steadfast that the WA Border would only come down once the state’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Andrew Robertson, said it is safe to do so.