Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania


Premier Peter Gutwein

Yesterday we announced three positive cases identified from one family unit from the charter flight that landed on Sunday.

These three cases were a mother and two children.

Today I can confirm that the other member of that family has also tested positive, with mild symptoms, and will be cared for in the dedicated facility at Fountainside Hotel following a clinical assessment. He will be transferred there shortly this morning.

The other three members of the family will also be moved to Fountainside from the Royal Hobart Hospital to continue their quarantine there.

We wish them well with their recovery.

I’m advised by Public Health that all interactions with staff have all been in accordance with the infection prevention and control protocols. This is our quarantine system working as it is intended.

Since the arrival of the flight on Sunday, all of the 118 returned Australians have undergone their first COVID test in quarantine and besides the four positive cases that are within the one family, the other cases all returned negative results.

I want to stress, again, that we will monitor symptoms as we move through, and I want to make the point, that Tasmanians should not be surprised if we have another case over this period of quarantine.

We will test all 118 people again, before the 14 day period ends, and no one will enter our community unless they have had a negative test at that stage.

I want to be really clear about this – these positive cases do not meant that Tasmania has COVID-19 in our community. Far from it – they are in quarantine. Our quarantine system is working.

Tasmanians can continue to enjoy doing the activities that they love.

We have had a sensible progression in terms of relaxation of our restrictions, and I’ll make some announcements in a moment, that will continue from today. Nothing has changed. Our “glide path” remains as it was, and Tasmanians can go about their business, obviously ensuring that they abide by COVID-safe behaviours.

Once again, I’d remind people to ensure that they physically distance, that they cover their coughs and sneezes and that they have good hand hygiene.

Follow the rules when in venues or other facilities. Get on with your life, but it’s a COVID life now for a period of time.

Following Public Health advice, I can confirm – something that I know Tasmanians have been waiting a long period of time for – that from 5pm tomorrow, there will be some additional easing of restrictions.

Firstly, gatherings in homes will increase from 40 people, to 100 people.

But please remember to be COVID-safe – make sure there is plenty of room to spread out, have soap and hand sanitiser available, and most importantly, if you’re unwell, don’t invite people to your home. And if you’re unwell, don’t attend someone else’s home. Be sensible about this.

Family gatherings will now move from 40 to 100, which I think will provide people with an opportunity to have Christmas as in the past they have previously enjoyed.

If you are going to have more than 40 people in your home – unless it is a very, very large home –take the party outside. Be sensible.

And importantly, make sure you follow the COVID-safe behaviours.

Furthermore, I am pleased to advise that dancing and stand-up drinking will be permitted by up to 100 people at indoor venues and 250 people in outdoor venues from this Friday at 5pm.

To explain how this will work, and to be clear, the upcoming changes do not alter the current number caps for non-residential premises.

So for a hotel, indoors, there’s a maximum cap of 250 people subject to the density requirements, which is the one in two square metres rule. Outdoors, it’s up to 1,000 people, but again, the two square metres rule applies.

So for example, if you can fit 250 into your venue subject to density limits, you could have 50 people dancing and 50 people standing up drinking. And you could have 150 people sitting down drinking, as is the current rule.

It’s for venues to manage this, to manage it sensibly. I know for small venues, for pubs with bars, they will very much welcome this. And from Friday night, at 5pm, people will be able to stand at the bar and have a drink. But again, be sensible in terms of your social distancing.

Tasmanians have been so well prepared throughout this to do the right thing. This doesn’t mean that the shackles come off. There is relaxation, but do the right thing.

In addition, brides – and maybe grooms that want to dance as well – walking down the aisle after 5pm on Friday, the dancing and stand-up drinking will apply to weddings as well. But again, it will be limited by venue capacity as well.

For those that are looking to have a wedding at home, obviously with the gathering limits, up to 100 now, can attend a wedding if someone wanted to hold that in their backyard or on their property.

Consideration is also currently being given by Public Health to increase capacity at venues, including theatres and cinemas, and I will have more to say about this next week as we move forward.

All venue operators are reminded of the importance of COVID-safe behaviors and to support the measures in place to protect us all, and from my own experience in attending venues over the last period – venues are doing a very, very good job. I encourage them to continue doing that, especially licensed premises – pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes – are already collecting patron contact details.

From the 15th December, this requirement extends to a broader range of premises. That list is on the Coronavirus website. Make certain that you’re aware of that as we want to ensure that everybody follows the rules. If you need advice, contact the helpline, or WorkSafe Tasmania, or get in touch via the email on the website.

I encourage you to look at the new Check in Tas app.

This app is free for venue operators who can sign up via the website or with help from the Public Health Hotline.

Having downloaded the app myself, it’s very simple to use, and I encourage Tasmanians to use it.

Again, the most important thing, especially for small venues, is that you continue to take down a list of those people who are attending your venue. The most important thing that we want to be able to do, is to ensure that we can contact trace should we need to.

Lifting of these restrictions will enable us to have a more normal Christmas period.

I think, based on the very good work that has been done by Tasmanians over the last 10 to 11 months, I am certain that Tasmanians will do the right thing, that they will continue to behave sensibly and responsibly as we continue with our glide path.

But please remember – maintain your physical distancing, cover your coughs and sneezes, wash our hands, observe COVID restrictions and safety plans, and very importantly – if you are unwell, stay home and get a test. Don’t go to work, don’t go out, do the right thing, get a test, even if it’s just a sniffle.