A Friday morning summit attended by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders has paved the way for eased coronavirus restrictions nationwide.
The national cabinet agreed to a set of principles for tackling the coronavirus crisis going forward, Mr Morrison announced at a press conference.
According to the agreement:
- Venues will be allowed to have two people per square metre
- Large, ticketed and seated gatherings can pack seats to a 100 per cent capacity
- When virus outbreaks occur, states will aim to use "local containment measures" and avoid closing state borders when possible.
"(States and territories have agreed) to the following principles, about prioritising the vaccine roll out, maintaining readiness to ensure suppression - so that goes to the COVID-safe behaviours - for testing and tracing and ensuring measures are proportionate in responding to outbreaks," Mr Morrison said.
He said the measures would be focused on protecting not just the health of Australians but also their "economic well being".
Australia's leaders have had some disagreements over how severe a COVID-19 outbreak should be to warrant closing borders, with leaders like NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on the side of keeping borders open while others, like Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, have had a lower threshold for border closures.
Following the announcement, Western Australia said it would allow major sport and entertainment venues to have 100 per cent capacity from midnight on Saturday.
Mr McGowan said that included Optus Stadium and RAC Arena, as well as theatres, cinemas and places of worship.
"This is a big step forward in the removal of restrictions and one that we can only take due to the hard work from West Australians across the community, giving health experts the confidence to proceed," he told reporters on Friday.
In NSW, where COVID-19 restrictions have been progressively scaled back over the past few months, rules are likely to stay the same.
The state's restrictions already allow 100 per cent capacity for ticketed events, and the 2sqm rule is already in place.
"NSW doesn't intend to change any of the restrictions we have in place," Ms Berejiklian said at a press conference.
Originally published as Virus rules to change across Australia