Western Australia is continuing its program of restriction easing, with most venues having their capacity increased to 75 per cent from 12.01am on Monday, March 15 pending no further outbreaks.

The increased capacity will be allowed at pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and food courts, however the two square metre rule will remain for nightclubs, unseated events and festivals, outdoor venues with unfixed seating, including pop-up bars and gambling venues.

Premier Mark McGowan said the changes can be made because of the hard work of Western Australians, which has enabled the virus to be controlled and ensured there is no community spread in the state.

“Increasing the capacity limit to 75 per cent capacity for both indoor and outdoor venues including restaurants, clubs, cafés, bars and places of worship will further benefit patrons as well as boost our business owners and operators.”

Health Minister Roger Cook added: “This is a great outcome for business and entertainment venues everywhere.

“The State Government will continue to work with them on how they operate in a COVID-safe way as we come out of this crisis.

“Public health, physical distancing and mass gathering measures continue to be highly effective in keeping WA safe.

“As the State Government looks forward to these new measures it is timely to remind everyone to keep using the SafeWA app to help our contact tracing teams.

“There have been more than 70 million scans of SafeWA at venues, which is phenomenal.

“But even though there is no COVID-19 in the community we cannot afford to become complacent or take our good fortune for granted.”

The move has been welcomed by the Australian Hotels Association WA, CEO Bradley Woods saying the increased capacity will be embraced by WA’s bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels and taverns who have operated under some form of capacity restrictions for almost a year.

“With just one case of community transmission over the past ten months and with mandatory contact registers now in place, WA is well placed to increase capacity limits safely and responsibly,” Woods said.

“Increasing patron limits will bring WA’s hospitality venues closer to major economic recovery.

“The increased venue capacity will impact not only on bars, pubs, restaurants and taverns but also on functions and event facilities for weddings, conferences and gala dinners.

“Today’s announcement is the result of months of strong advocacy efforts from the AHA. We have been impressing on Government the need to allow venues to trade at a higher capacity in order to recoup losses incurred over the past year and recover strongly in 2021.

“We commend the State Government on this common sense move – we will continue to work towards having remaining restrictions removed, particularly as the roll out of Australia’s vaccination program increases in pace.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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