Our number one priority in this fight against coronavirus is to take action and take action quickly to stop the spread and to save lives.
This disease has devastated countries and is still devastating countries around the world. More than six million people have suffered and more than 370,000 people have died from it.
Measures taken here in Australia, and in Tasmania especially, have been swift and they have worked. And I want to thank all Tasmanians for their discipline and, importantly, their compassion and, in the vast majority of cases, the respect that they have shown each other as we worked through this difficult situation.
We’re only here because we came together and we worked hard to suppress this virus.
Tasmanians will be used to me saying that we’re in a good place but we need to get to a better place.
Well, with just four active cases now, no positive cases for 17 days and consistently high testing levels, whilst our journey certainly isn’t over, not by a long shot, we definitely are in a better place.
We positioned our State well for recovery and, as committed three weeks into the first stage of easing restrictions, we worked together, and to date the results are very good.
Following discussions over the last 24 hour with Public Health, we’ve been working on this now since last week, I’m very pleased that there is strong confidence that it’s safe to bring forward Stage Two and to ease our restrictions.
So, this will be effective from 3pm this Friday. There’ll be some minor exceptions to accommodate necessary planning processes.
Our high schools will open next week, and racing will commence on the 13th as originally planned.
I’m certain this will be very welcome news, the lifting of Stage Two restrictions for Tasmanians across the State ahead of the June long weekend. And I think, you know, it’s just going to be a fantastic opportunity for people to sensibly and responsibly start to enjoy this great State again.
Over the weekend, get out there and enjoy the State, but abide by the social distancing rules and, importantly, exercise common sense, and let’s take this next bold step to get the State back on track.
It’s time to enjoy our shacks again, take our boats out, launch them, visit a national park and enjoy a walk anywhere across the State.
Camping and overnight stays will be permitted, but I would urge you to look at the Parks website to make sure that the campsite that you might want to go and stay at is open, because some have been closed for maintenance and others are closed for operational reasons. But they will be listed clearly on the website in coming days.
In terms of pubs, clubs, cafes - excluding nightclubs - up to 40 patrons will be allowed, subject to final advice from Public Health on social distancing after consultation with industry over the next 24 hours. Seated drinking will be allowed as well. There’ll be no need to serve food.
In terms of gyms and boot camps, 20 people indoors and outdoors. I know that there are a lot of people that are looking forward to getting back to their favourite gym.
Tabcorp, retail shop fronts will open as well. Funeral sizes will increase to 50 people, weddings will increase to 20.
The lifting of these restrictions will allow businesses including beauty therapy, tattoo studios, nails, waxing, facials and tanning to reopen.
While outdoor and indoor sport can resume, abiding by the 20-person limit, with codes and associations guided by the AIS and any association rules that are in place.
I want to remind all businesses to finish getting their COVID safety plans in place. If you need to, go to the website or call the business hotline on 1800 440 026.
It’s important, and most, in fact, all businesses that I have entered over the last period have had the necessary steps in place, and I’d just encourage businesses to continue with their very good work.
As we’re moving early, the COVID safe plans, the framework, will be set by Public Health, but the rules themselves will be administered by WorkSafe Tas and environmental health officers.
Regulations will not be introduced until we move out of the State of Emergency. The Public Health guidance will be what we will follow and, importantly, the Public Health rules.
And I would remind people that there are fines available under those rules, and they need to approach this seriously, as I know the vast majority of businesses are.
We’re committed to a sensible glide path and a reopening of our state in a way that does not compromise health and safety of Tasmanians.
I’ve had immense confidence in our Public Health officials and I thank Dr Veitch again for the work that he has done, and I want to thank them for their continued advice.
I think Tasmanians should take great comfort in the fact that our Public Health officials every step of the way have prioritised our health and our wellbeing, and that has been foremost in their thinking.
It’s important that we continue to review the current situation and respond appropriately.
I know that many businesses are hurting and many businesses will welcome these changes, but the most important thing that we need to do is to step back into this sensibly, responsibly and that we all use our common sense.
To maintain that confidence that we have in the position that we’ve arrived at, we need to follow the rules, observe social distancing rules that are in place, practice good hygiene, importantly, get tested if you have mild symptoms. It’s important that we continue with that. The numbers have been very pleasing, but ensure that even with mild symptoms that you take the opportunity to get tested.
We’ve put in place the building blocks.
We have contact tracking and tracing available and rapid response.
Tasmanians, if you haven’t, please download the COVID Safe app but, importantly, continue to follow the rules, continue to use common sense, and we will be able to step out of this and continue to have the very good result that we have had to date.
In terms of Stage Three restrictions, by nature of the announcement today, they will move forward as well. We will be reviewing towards the end of June. We’ll continue with the weekly review, but towards mid to late June there’ll be another formal review in terms of the next step.
I want to especially thank all Tasmanians for helping us get to this place today.
This is not over by a long shot. You only have to look at what’s occurring in other parts of the world to know that this is a deadly, serious disease, and that at the end of the day it kills.
Unfortunately, we’ve had too many deaths in Tasmania as a result of this, and we need to ensure that we continue to act sensibly, responsibly, with common sense.
But I have to say, as Premier I am so proud of the efforts that Tasmanians have put in. All of those that have worked so hard. Our health sector, our Public Health officials, those that have responded, our police, our public servants, that have gone above and beyond.
This is a fantastic outcome and a great opportunity, and like many, many Tasmanians, I am looking forward to the long weekend coming up and an opportunity to get out and enjoy this great State again.