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man-surfing-on-own-western-australia
(Image: Unsplash/Manon Duport)

Social distancing in Western Australia began to ease from April 27, when the number of people allowed to attend indoor and outdoor gatherings has increased to 10 people from the previous two-person rule. 

Western Australia is now in Phase 2 of the state’s roadmap to recovery.

WA-4-stage-easing-restrictions-timeline
(Image: WA.gov.au)

Here is the latest update on:

  • Social distancing in Western Australia
  • Education
  • Work
  • Travel 
  • What’s open? 
  • What are the fines if you don’t follow the rules?

(This article will be updated as new changes are implemented to keep you informed.)

Social distancing in Western Australia

Up to 10 people may convene in indoor and outdoor spaces in Western Australia, as long as responsible social distancing is maintained. 

Residents of Western Australia are allowed to leave the home for recreational activities such as picnics, camping, fishing and boating. 

As of May 18, the following is permitted:

  • Up to 20 people can gather for non-work related activities in indoor and outdoor settings;
  • Up to 20 people can gather for indoor weddings and funerals;
  • Up to 30 people can gather for outdoor weddings and funerals; and
  • Up to 20 people can visit meal service restaurants and bars, including those that exist within clubs, hotels, casinos, and pubs.

The Western Australian government says the public should continue to practice social distancing responsibly, including thorough hand washing, maintaining a safe distance from others and practising good domestic hygiene.

Education

Public schools in Western Australia have been open since April 29, with Years 11 and 12 strongly recommended to attend classes, although the decision for students to return to school is at the discretion of parents and carers at present. 

Distance education packages and resources are being made available for students who are continuing to learn from home. 

The re-opening of schools, as well as distance education packages, will be accessed over the next three weeks, with necessary changes to be made depending on the outcome of sending students back to school. 

To ensure safe social distancing is maintained, parents will be required to drop children at the school gate and not enter school grounds. School canteens will only be providing takeaway services and school swimming pools will be closed. 

Large gatherings such as school assemblies, camps, excursions and inter-school activities will not be permitted. 

Work

All Western Australians are being urged to return to work unless they are unwell or vulnerable.

Travel 

From March 31, Western Australians have not been allowed to travel outside of their region. Western Australian intrastate travel is defined as movement through the boundaries of the regions of Western Australia.

As of May 18, travel is now allowed:

  • between the South West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Perth-Peel regions
  • between the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions (excluding the biosecurity zone)
  • within the Goldfields-Esperance region (excluding the biosecurity zone)
  • within Kimberley Local Government areas (the Commonwealth’s biosecurity zone remains in place).

Travel exceptions are still required to cross the Western Australian border, as well as between the four regions. Exceptions include travelling for work, seeking medical care, or returning to their place of residence. There are also exceptions for people who need to travel on compassionate grounds, or who don’t have access to essential goods or services in their regions, as well as for those who need to attend educational facilities outside of their region or who are transporting freight.

Currently, you cannot enter Western Australia unless an exemption has been granted.

From April 29, the free orange school bus service has been operating as before. As of May 4, public transport has been operating at 70% of the normal weekday timetable. 

What’s open? 

  • Cafes
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Casinos (for dining purposes)
  • Hotels (for dining purposes)
  • Grocery stores
  • Shopping centres
  • Food markets
  • Indoor and outdoor swimming pools
  • Certain retail stores (with restrictions)
  • Chemists
  • Medical centres 
  • Petrol stations 
  • Some public parks and walking trails
  • State schools
  • Universities 
  • Banks 
  • Childcare services
  • Freight and delivery services 

What are the fines if you don’t follow the rules?

Police officers can issue fines of $1,000 to individuals and $5,000 for businesses that disobey the rules. To date, drones have also been used to break up public social gatherings and social distancing messages have been played through speakers in public areas to encourage people to adhere to the rules.

Read: Coronavirus statistics | When will the lockdown end?

Peter Fray

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