Pubs, clubs and restaurants will be allowed to have 75 per cent capacity, while churches and cinemas will be able to operate at full capacity next week in South Australia.
On Wednesday, Premier Steven Marshall announced the changes would come into effect as of midnight next Tuesday – just in time for Easter.
He said indoor venues with fixed seatings, like churches and cinemas, would be able to operate at full capacity as long as patrons wore masks unless consuming food or beverages.
It was also announced that licenced venues — including pubs, clubs and restaurants — would increase their capacity to 75 per cent from 50 per cent with a capacity under 1000 people.
There would also be a three person per 4 sqm rule density requirement at those venues.
Mr Marshall said the state responded “extraordinarily well” during its peak festival season this month.
“This has given the Transition Committee the confidence to ease restrictions by the end of the month,” he said.
“We know our testing rates are good (and) our QR check ins have been very good.
“This is great news not just for patrons but for businesses across this state.”
It was also announced that dancing limits for venues licensed up to 1000 people would be removed.
Currently, only 50 people are allowed to dance at venues with 200-1000 people.
A cap of 200 people at private gatherings will remain in place.
Where there are more than 1000 people at a gathering or venue, a COVID-19 management plan is still required.
“It will be a massive relief to many SA businesses. This is about jobs,” Mr Marshall said.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the state was in a much better place compared to one year ago, when the nation was plunged into its first lockdown.
“A lot has occurred over the past year that gives us the confidence that we can act quickly if we do have any community transmission or concern of seeding of COVID-19 in the community,” he said.
He also said SA Police would scale down their presence at Adelaide Airport from Saturday.
Commissioner Stevens said there was a long debate about density requirements and public gatherings at the transition committee meeting.
“It’s important to recognise that a pandemic is not a tidy scenario to deal and (all) the best laid plans often don’t come to fruition because of the dynamic nature of what we’re dealing with,” he told reporters on Wednesday morning.
“We are looking for ways to progress through these restrictions and remove all of them as soon as possible.”
He reiterated that the easing of restrictions was dependant on the level of compliance with QR codes and the community’s involvement in the vaccine rollout.
Under current restrictions, there is a one person every 2 sqm density requirement.
Restaurants, clubs and churches operate at 50 per cent while some venues, like cinemas, are allowed to have a capacity of 75 per cent if patrons wear masks.
There were two new COVID-19 cases recorded on Wednesday, both from a medi-hotel.