SA lockdown set to lift after backflip

 

More restrictions are set to ease when South Australia's stay-at-home order is repealed at midnight, allowing gatherings to go ahead and businesses to resume trading.

Locked down residents flocked to the state's parks and beaches in the hours after a ban on outdoor exercise lifted yesterday, just 36 hours after it had been imposed as part of the strict statewide shutdown.

The six-day "circuit breaker" took effect on Thursday to allow contact tracers to catch up with what was believed to be a fast-spreading coronavirus cluster.

But after the lies of one man with COVID-19 were uncovered, lessening fears for the severity of the outbreak, Premier Steven Marshall said he would not let "the disgraceful conduct of a single individual" keep the state locked down any longer than necessary.

Fears for the severity of the outbreak lessened after it was revealed an infected worker at the Woodville Pizza Bar lied to authorities. Picture: Matt Turner.
Fears for the severity of the outbreak lessened after it was revealed an infected worker at the Woodville Pizza Bar lied to authorities. Picture: Matt Turner.

While the exercise ban was the only restriction to immediately lift, the lockdown will officially end three days earlier than planned.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the revised end time of midnight on Saturday would allow contract tracers time to complete all necessary investigations.

"We will be putting significant additional investigation resources in so that we can do this work as quickly as possible and tie that up prior to midnight Saturday," he said.

Under the eased restrictions, businesses will be allowed to reopen but must comply with the one person per 4 sq m density restriction.

There will be no dancing in venues allowed, and patrons will have to consume all food and drinks while seated.

Gyms, massage parlours and salons will be allowed to reopen, but personal care workers will need to wear masks.

There will also be a return to strict caps on gatherings, with funerals limited to 50 people and weddings to 150 guests who must register with SA Health.

Private gatherings will be capped at 50 people, while gatherings held at private residences must be no larger than 10 people.

It is hoped the state will be in a position to revert to its previous restrictions, which were in place until the recent outbreak, on December 1, the same day the border with Victoria is due to open.

Under the immediate change on Friday, trips outside to exercise with members of the same household were allowed.

A short time later, large numbers of cyclists and walkers returned to the streets of Adelaide, while others made the most of the warm weather at the beaches.

 

Bronwen Wills, of Smithfield, said the change meant she could resume a simple daily ritual of walking her golden retriever Hurricane.

"I was very excited to hear the restriction was lifting and we would be able to get out do something," she said.

The obedience and agility instructor said lockdown had been tough but she had coped by ensuring Hurricane was kept stimulated with puzzles and toys.

An RSPCA spokesman also welcomed the news, adding that volunteers crucial to the care of shelter animals would be allowed back on-site from Sunday.

Schools will reopen on Monday, after parents were initially told students would have to spend the first part of next week at home.

However, Roma Mitchell Secondary College and Mawson Lakes School and Preschool will not reopen until the following Monday.

Premier Steven Marshall announced an early end to the South Australian lockdown on Friday. Picture: NCA NewsWire/David Mariuz
Premier Steven Marshall announced an early end to the South Australian lockdown on Friday. Picture: NCA NewsWire/David Mariuz

Government schools had been advised to prepare for a possible shift to remote learning, but on Friday that was deemed no longer necessary.

Westport Primary School principal Rebecca Huddy said staff had put plans in place for next week before the announcement was made.

"Our priority then went into communicating the new information to staff and families, which is really quite straightforward now with our technology," she said.

Only 10 of 380 students attended on Thursday and Friday, but Ms Huddy said she expected numbers would be back to normal from Monday.

"It will be business as usual, which is really an amazing outcome. We will just be limiting a little bit of activity but back to the normal teaching and learning program," she said.

Originally published as SA lockdown set to lift after backflip



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