The West Australia government has locked-in when the state will ease its hard border controls, in line with a 90 per cent double dose vaccination rate.
Having achieved the 80 per cent vaccination rate, Premier Mark McGowan announced on Monday the state border will reopen at 12:01am on Saturday, February 5.
“This date is locked in giving Western Australians and local businesses certainty and the ability to plan and be ready for the transition early next year,” Mr McGowan said.
Under the state’s ‘Safe Transition Plan’, there will be testing requirements.
People visiting for six days or more will need to get a negative PCR result within 72 hours of departure and take another test within 48 hours of arrival.
Those visiting WA for five days or less will only have to get a negative test within 72 hours of departure.
Vaccinated overseas travellers will not have to quarantine, but if they are unvaccinated or have not had an approved jab, they will have to quarantine for 14 days.
Transitional restrictions will include a requirement to wear face masks in high-risk areas, while vaccination proof will be needed to attend some large-scale events and venues.
Mr McGowan said news of the re-opening would be a “cause of relief or even celebration” for some but would cause great concern for others.
“Many have family abroad that they have been unable to see for nearly two years. I am sure this date will be a cause of relief and celebration,” McGowan said.
“For others, this is an announcement that will cause great concern. They or their loved ones might be immunocompromised. Some will be worried about their children or their older parents.”
In some remote Aboriginal communities, vaccination rates are dramatically lower than the rest of the state.
At present, the Pilbara have a double-dose vaccination rate of 46.1 per cent, the Kimberley is at 60.8 per cent and the Goldfields at 65 per cent.
McGowan says, “If those regions do not reach at least 80 per cent by February 5, they will be subject to enhanced public health measures.”
- proof of vaccination will be required at pubs, bars, dine-in cafés and restaurants, bottle shops, indoor entertainment venues, gyms and fitness centres;
- masks will be required at all indoor public venues without a proof of vaccination entry requirement (such as supermarkets, roadhouses and takeaway services); and
- only double dose vaccinated travellers will be permitted into the region by air.
“These restrictions will be removed or stepped down once the required double dose vaccination rate is achieved in the region, subject to the specific health advice at the time,” McGowan said.