Life regains some normalcy as vax targets achieved

Posted on : Thursday, 11 November 2021

Over the weekend, the ACT became the first Australian jurisdiction to vaccinate 95% of its population - one of the highest levels of vaccination in the world.  As a result, the ACT Government is moving to the next stage of its Pathway Forward, reducing restrictions at 11.59pm on Thursday, 11 November, 2021. 

The changes will remove limits on the number of visitors to homes or at outdoor gatherings and reduce the density limit to one person per 2 square metres across most indoor settings, including hospitality and retail. 

Travel exemption requirements will remain in place for designated, high-risk areas across Australia, but the Government will review the existing high-risk geographical areas this week. 

From Friday, face masks will only be required in high-risk settings like hospitals and aged care facilities, on public transport, while inside the Canberra airport terminal or on domestic flights, and in some business settings. 

On 8 November, NSW granted new freedoms to fully vaccinated citizens, having reached its own 90% target for those aged 16 and over, removing capacity limits for major recreation and entertainment facilities, private homes, and no booking limits for restaurants and hospitality.  2sqm density limits still apply, but there are no distance limits for travel. 

In Victoria the changes from last month still apply, which means no restrictions on travel state-wide, no masks outside, and the reopening of gyms, retail, and hospitality, among many other changes. 

The State is still on track to achieve a 90% vaccination rate around 24 November, when more restrictions will be eased for those who are fully vaccinated.  Restrictions on the unvaccinated are expected to continue into 2022. 

Queensland has announced that it will ease border restrictions when it achieves an 80% rate - expected on 17 December, 2021, and just in time for Christmas.  These changes will only apply to those with double vaccinations and will specifically target leisure activities, hospitality venues, and entertainment venues. 

Masks will no longer be required across the state once the 80% single dose target is met - anticipated any day now. They will still be needed in airports and on planes.

South Australia continues to operate under level 1 restrictions.  Borders are still restricted, but are projected to reopen to fully vaccinated people around 23 November when locals are 80% vaccinated. 

Tasmania has announced its plan to reopen borders to fully vaccinated travellers on December 15, when it is expected to reach its 90% target. 

From that date, anyone who is fully vaccinated and has returned a negative test within 72 hours of travel will be allowed to enter the state. 

In the NT, both the Greater Darwin and Katherine lockouts have ended, although a mask mandate remains in place until 5pm, Friday, 12 November, 2021, for both areas. 

The only holdout is Western Australia.  While most of the country is planning to reopen borders, the WA Government has announced that its borders will remain closed until late January or early February next year, once 90% of the state's population aged above 12 years old is fully vaccinated. 

Premier Mark McGowan has also said the state may keep its border closed to jurisdictions that are planning to ease border restrictions in time for Christmas, further complicating travel arrangements. 

Wherever you reside, and wherever you may be planning to travel, FPA Australia encourages you to take care and to continue exercising caution.