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Tas, ACT follow big states in winding back COVID rules

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The ACT will ease many of its COVID-19 restrictions following a drop in Omicron case numbers.

Density limits across all businesses will be removed from 6pm on Friday, while dancing will also be allowed once again.

Bans on eating or drinking at hospitality venues while standing have also been removed, while the government has indicated a return to the workplace will be permitted for eligible employees.

Ticketing and pre-registration requirements for events have also been scrapped.

The restrictions winding back on Friday are just some of a sweeping tranche of changes that will come into effect throughout the next week.

Elective surgery will return from Monday at Calvary Hospital in Canberra’s north, with a gradual return to full capacity. It has been halted for more than a month at the facility due to the territory’s Omicron surge.

From Tuesday, the mandatory quarantine period of unvaccinated international travellers will be reduced to seven days. However, exemptions for the unvaccinated to enter the ACT will still be required.

Vaccinated travellers won’t have to complete an online declaration form, but testing requirements will still be in effect.

From 11.59pm on February 25, changes will be made to requirements on wearing masks in indoor settings.

The ACT government said further details would be finalised in coming days.

Exemption requirements will also be removed for all events from next week. But events with more than 5000 people will still have to submit COVID safety plans for review.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the changes were made after plateauing case numbers in Canberra.

“While we recognise the situation could change if a new variant of concern emerges or there is a surge in cases, this step is designed to minimise the disruption of COVID-19 on our local businesses,” he said.

“The winter months will present increased risks, and the ACT government will join national efforts to prepare for a period where out health system may come under significant strain.”

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the eased restrictions were a sign of cautious optimism about the COVID situation.

“I’m confident Canberrans understand the simple actions and behaviours we can all take to protect ourselves and others,” she said.

“It’s important to be considerate of those for whom easing of restrictions may create some anxiety.”

-AAP

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