Phase 4 - Easing of restrictions - frequently asked questions

Guidance
FAQs about the easing of restrictions and what this means for community and business

Last updated: 25 September 2020 at 12.30pm

On this page you will find frequently asked questions on:

Easing of restrictions

Why are these easing of restrictions taking place?

The latest easing of restrictions by the WA Government is due to the continued low number of new COVID-19 cases and WA’s hard border with the rest of the country. The easing of restrictions will continue the process of re-starting the State’s economy by helping to get more Western Australians safely back to work.

The current health advice is that we can cautiously continue to reopen or increase capacity of certain venues and facilities, and increase indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings while continuing to practise physical distancing and good personal hygiene.

What gathering and venue restrictions were lifted from 11:59pm Friday 26 June 2020?

Phase 4 of the COVID-19 WA roadmap includes:

  • all existing gathering limits and the 100/300 rule removed
  • gathering limits now only determined by WA’s reduced 2sqm rule
  • the 2sqm rule will only include staff at venues that hold more than 500 patrons
  • removal of seated service requirements at food businesses and licensed premises
  • alcohol can be served as part of unseated service arrangements
  • major events permitted, subject to having an approved COVID Event Plan
  • unseated performances permitted at venues such as concert halls, live music venues, bars, pubs and nightclubs
  • gyms operating unstaffed, but regular cleaning must be maintained
  • the casino floor reopening under agreed temporary restrictions.

Everyone is encouraged to continue to practice physical distancing and good personal hygiene.

Is it too early to relax almost all restrictions and move into Phase 4?

The latest easing of restrictions by the WA Government is due to the continued low number of new COVID-19 cases and WA’s hard border with the rest of the country.

The approach to easing restrictions in Phase 4 is based on the best health advice for the State, and takes into account the National Cabinet principles.

Our hard border is in place based on the expert health advice for WA.

It has allowed us to go further than any other State in easing restrictions and has helped to generate more economic activity within WA.

The easing of restrictions will continue the process of re-starting the State’s economy by helping to get more Western Australians safely back to work.

The current health advice is that we can increase capacity of most venues and facilities, and increase indoor and outdoor gatherings while of course continuing to practise physical distancing and good personal hygiene.

Why is the 2 square metre rule still in place?

Current health advice advises that we continue to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and the 2 square metres per person rule, as well as maintain good personal hygiene.

Transmission of the virus is still possible, so do not become complacent.

Can I now host a birthday party? Including children’s birthday parties?

Yes, however, you and your guests should practise physical distancing and ensure there is enough space for 2 square metres per adult or child.

Is it safe to greet people with a handshake, hug or kiss now?

Don't make unnecessary physical contact with others — avoid physical greetings such as handshakes, hugs and kisses.

Is it safe to go out now that restrictions are lifted?

Based on health advice, it is currently considered safe to go out to public places that are open, provided you maintain good personal hygiene practices and adhere to physical distancing guidelines.

The Western Australian community is encouraged to support the State’s economy by re-engaging with local businesses unless you’re unwell or are vulnerable as defined by the AHPPC.

Do I still need to practice physical distancing when I go out?

Yes. Transmission of the virus is still possible, so do not become complacent. Keep 1.5 metres from others where possible, and maintain good personal hygiene.

If restrictions are lifted and then an outbreak occurs – what will happen then?

To avoid an outbreak, people must continue to abide by the restrictions, observe physical distancing and practice good personal hygiene.

If an outbreak occurs after restrictions are lifted, the WA Government will consult with health experts and an appropriate response will be implemented.

Businesses need to be prepared for the possibility if there are future outbreaks, the operation of their business could be affected. It’s essential for businesses to be flexible, innovative and resilient.

It is important WA businesses review and continue to implement their COVID Safety plans.

Why is WA not following the National Cabinet guidelines?

The National Cabinet framework allows individual states and territories to implement their own plans.

WA is in a far more fortunate position than other states and territories. Strong restrictions, like WA’s hard border, and the ongoing cooperation and vigilance of Western Australians, has resulted in far fewer cases of COVID-19 in the State. WA currently has no evidence of community spread.

I have been directed to self-quarantine, however I already have a booking for elective surgery. Can I still attend for my surgery?

No. Precautions need to be put in place to protect staff and patients while you attend the hospital.

If you are in self-quarantine you cannot undergo elective surgery. Contact the hospital to reschedule your surgery for when you are cleared from quarantine.

Advice for business

Businesses will no longer be subject to a defined venue capacity limit. The number of people that a venue can accommodate will be determined by the 2 square metres per person rule.

All other specific restrictions on venues or activities, such as seated service at pubs and bars, have been removed.

Major events are now permitted, subject to having an approved COVID Event Plan. The maximum number of people that can attend an event is determined by the 2 square metre rule.

A music festival is defined in the Closure and Restriction (Limit the Spread) Directions (no 5).

Large hospitality and event venues that can accommodate more than 500 patrons based on the 2 square metre rule will also need to include staff working in public areas in their 2sqm rule. More information is available in the safety guidelines.

If I don’t comply with the Directions, including the 2 square metre rule in my venue, what are the consequences/fines?

It may be an offence to fail to comply with the Directions. The maximum penalty for this offence is:

  • imprisonment for 12 months or a fine of $50,000
  • a fine of $5000 for each separate and further offence.

If the offence is committed by a company, the maximum fine is increased to $250,000.

An on-the-spot fine of $1000 may be issued (or $5000 for a company), instead of being prosecuted.

What about venues like Optus Stadium, HBF Park, HBF Stadium and RAC Arena?

These venues will be required to have a COVID Safety Plan and operate within a 50 per cent capacity rule.

These are the only venues that have a 50 per cent capacity rule, due to their size.

The maximum number of people, including staff and patrons, these venues can accommodate during Phase 4 are as follows:

Optus Stadium

Sport: 30,633
Concerts: 35,000

HBF Park

Sport: 10,150
Concerts: 16,500

HBF Stadium

Sport: 2218
Concerts: 2945

RAC Arena

Sport: 7150
Concerts: 8250

Can street, food and arts festivals occur?

Yes, street, food and arts festivals may be arranged. Events with more than 500 patrons that normally require a Local Government approval will also require an approved COVID Event Plan

Operators of festivals need to ensure that there is sufficient space for their event to occur, allowing 2 square metres per person. Operators should also consider how the event is run to prevent overcrowding in high traffic areas, like walkways. Operators should promote the practice of physical distancing and good personal hygiene.

People attending these events should make sure that they practise physical distancing by keeping a safe distance from others, and maintaining good personal hygiene.

COVID Safety Plans

What is a COVID Safety Plan?

The purpose of the COVID Safety Plan is to help ensure that businesses actively mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in line with the best available health advice.

The person responsible for the premises or the activity that occurs in those premises will need to complete the COVID Safety Plan and explain how the business will take steps to implement the requirements and the advice set out in these guidelines.

You must self-complete a COVID Safety Plan for your business prior to reopening and have it available for inspection upon request by an authorised officer. If your business has multiple premises, you must prepare a COVID Safety Plan for each premises.

Refer to the COVID Safety Guidelines and Plans for further information.

My business/organisation was never required to close. Do I need to complete a COVID Safety Plan?

All businesses are encouraged to complete a COVID Safety Plan.

Business that were required to close under the Directions and are reopening for the first time must complete a COVID Safety Plan.

Businesses that reopened in earlier phases should update their existing COVID Safety Plans to reflect any changes to their operation in Phase 4.

However, it’s up to all of us to be COVID safe, and a COVID Safety Plan is one way for businesses to consider how to operate in a safe way.

My business/organisation has completed a Phase 3 COVID Safety Plan. I want to increase capacity for Phase 4. Do I need to update my COVID Safety Plan?

Yes, you should review the new guidelines and update your COVID Safety Plan accordingly. 

The easing of restrictions in Phase 4 means you may be able to increase your venue’s capacity, which can be reflected on your COVID Safety Plan Certificate.

Entertainment, hospitality and food businesses

Food businesses can now expand their dine-in capacity in line with the requirements below:

  • ensuring the 2 square metre rule is followed
  • completing or updating a COVID Safety Plan and having it available for inspection upon request by an authorised officer
  • displaying a COVID Safety Plan Certificate in a prominent location visible to patrons
  • ensuring all hospitality workers complete an online hygiene training course before they return to work.

Refer to the COVID Safety Guidelines: Food Businesses for further information around hygiene requirements.

How long do I need to keep my patron register for? And is this still required for Phase 4?

Businesses are no longer required to keep a patron register as part of their COVID Safety Plan in Phase 4.

Businesses that kept patron registers previously are required to keep the information in the register until 28 days after the State of Emergency has been lifted.

I own a fast food outlet in a food court, can my patrons dine in?

Yes. You must ensure that your business has completed a COVID Safety Plan. The owner/manager of any shared dining space must also complete a COVID Safety Plan. Patrons may choose to dine in or takeaway from outlets in a food court.

Can all areas of the Crown Casino reopen?

Yes, the Crown Casino, including the gaming floor, can reopen, with temporary conditions in Phase 4.

Can wine tours or wine tastings happen?

Yes. Cellar doors and other alcohol producers can provide tastings. Patrons are no longer required to be seated for this.

The number of patrons allowed in the venue limit will be determined by the 2 square metre per person rule. Patrons should practice physical distancing, remaining at least 1.5m away from patrons from other households, and ensure good personal hygiene.

Can TABs and Pub TABs open for the purpose of betting and watching events?

Yes. Patrons should practice physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres from other patrons. The 2 square metre per person rule applies to the venue.

Can adult entertainment venues open?

Yes, these venues need to comply with the requirement for 2 square metres of floor space per patron.

A COVID Safety Plan must be completed.

Do charter boats, tour buses, scenic flights or skydiving flights need to follow the 2 square metre rule?

Charter vessels including boats, tour buses, scenic flights and skydiving flights do not need to comply with the 2 square metre per person rule, consistent with other transport.

However, existing regulations and hygiene practices must be followed.

Can beauty therapy and personal care services open?

Beauty therapy and personal care services are permitted to open.

Beauty therapy and personal care services must have a COVID Safety Plan, have it available for inspection upon request by an authorised officer, and display a COVID Safety Plan Certificate in a prominent location visible to patrons.

Refer to the COVID Safety Guidelines: Beauty Therapy for further information around hygiene requirements.

Can wellness centres, float centres, saunas, bath houses and spas open?

Wellness centres (including float centres, saunas, bath houses and spas) are permitted to reopen, observing the 2 square metre per person rule.

To the extent a day spa or wellness centre provides beauty and personal care services (including massages, facials, waxing and tanning) they should maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres between each client receiving treatment from a staff member and every other client receiving treatment from a staff member.

Refer to the COVID Safety Guidelines: Beauty Therapy for further information.

Wellness centres that provide group fitness classes, including yoga or Pilates, must observe the 2 square metre per person rule.

Can galleries, museums, theatres, cinemas, concert venues, arcades and amusement parks open?

Galleries, museums, theatres, cinemas, concert venues, amusement parks and arcades (including pool halls, ten pin bowling, skating rinks, Timezone and play centres) are permitted to reopen in line with the requirements below:

  • provide at least 2 square metres of floor space per person
  • a COVID Safety Plan must be completed prior to reopening and be available for inspection upon request by an authorised officer
  • a COVID Safety Plan Certificate must be displayed in a prominent location visible to patrons.

Refer to COVID Safety Guidelines and Plans for further information around hygiene requirements.

What about Perth Zoo and wildlife parks?

Perth Zoo and wildlife parks were able to reopen in Phase 3.

Wildlife parks must have at least 2 square metres of space per person. Patrons are encouraged to continue to practise physical distancing and good personal hygiene at all times.

What are the seating arrangements at indoor or outdoor cinemas, theatres and concert venues?

Patrons should keep at least 1.5 metres away from other groups of patrons within the facilities. The 2 square metre per person rule applies to the venue.

Real estate

Is there a gathering limit on home opens?

The gathering limit will be determined by the 2 square metre per person rule. Attendees should practice physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres from other people.

Are auction houses and in-person real estate auctions permitted?

Yes. Outdoor auction houses and real estate auctions may occur with at least 2 square metres per person. All attendees should practice good personal hygiene and physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres from other people.

Are auction houses permitted to operate?

Auction houses are permitted to operate, must apply the 2 square metre rule and should encourage patrons to keeping 1.5 metres from other people.

Are in-person real estate auctions permitted?

Real estate auctions are permitted and are subject to the 2 square metre rule.

Sport and recreation

Phase 4 of the COVID-19 WA roadmap sees further easing of restrictions related to sport and recreation.

Gyms, fitness and sporting centres can now open without the requirement of supervision, however, these venues are encouraged to:

  • undertake regular cleaning of the premises and equipment
  • ensure patrons follow social distancing requirements
  • promote good personal hygiene practices among staff and patrons.

An organisation that controls or operates the premises will need to complete or update their COVID Safety Plan and explain how the business will take steps to implement the requirements and the advice set out in these guidelines. The business must have its COVID Safety Plan available for inspection upon request by an authorised officer. If your business has multiple premises you must prepare a COVID Safety Plan for each premises.

Other organisations, including sporting organisations, may choose to voluntarily complete a COVID Safety Plan. 

Refer to COVID Safety Guidelines: Sport and Recreation for further information around hygiene requirements.

For venues/spaces where the 2 square metre rule is an increase from local government approved capacities, the local government determination will apply.

Can I attend the WAFL, AFL or any local football, soccer and any sporting events?

Yes, however, the venue’s maximum capacity will be subject to the 2 square metre rule or 50 per cent capacity rule for Optus Stadium, HBF Park and RAC Arena.

Is there a limit to the crowd numbers?

Yes, the venue’s maximum capacity will be subject to the 2 square metre rule.

For WA’s major sporting and entertainment venues, including Optus Stadium, HBF Park, RAC Arena, a 50 per cent capacity rule will apply. The maximum numbers of people, including staff and patrons, these venues can accommodate during Phase 4 are as follows:

Optus Stadium

Sport: 30,633
Concerts: 35,000

HBF Park

Sport: 10,150
Concerts: 16,500

RAC Arena

Sport: 7150
Concerts: 8250

Can my club room open (including bars and restaurants within the club rooms)?

Club rooms must comply with the 2 square metres per person rule.

Each venue must have a COVID Safety Plan that has been developed in consultation with its local government or land manager. Patrons should practise physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres from patrons from other households.

Refer to COVID Safety Guidelines: Sport and Recreation for further information around hygiene requirements.

Are outdoor sport and recreation venues open?

Outdoor sporting venues may open, however, the venue’s maximum capacity will be subject to the 2 square metre rule.

Can multi-functional facilities open more than one space?

Yes, however, the venue’s maximum capacity will be subject to the 2 square metre rule.

Are swimming pools open?

Yes. The venue’s maximum capacity will be limited by the 2 square metre rule.

Can my dance studio open multiple dance spaces?

Yes, but the 2 square metre rule needs to be applied.

Given full contact sport (including tackling) is allowed, does this include other forms of physical activity for example partner dancing?

Yes, all sport and physical activity that involves close or physical contact with another person is allowed. This includes dancing and ballet. It is recommended that good personal hygiene is maintained and people are to stay home, if unwell.

Can my gym open?

Yes, all gyms may open. You will be able to offer the normal range of training options, including using all gym equipment.

There is no longer a requirement for gyms to have staff present for supervision of patrons, however, regular cleaning of equipment should continue.

Can we now share fitness and sporting equipment?

When training or playing sport, you can share equipment provided it is cleaned between each use.

Patrons should be encouraged to wipe down the equipment after each use and the gym staff should ensure regular cleaning is carried out during the day.

Can we now use playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment?

Yes. You should ensure that you maintain personal hygiene and wash your hands before and after using this equipment. Bring your own hand sanitiser to use.

Do we need to continue to keep a register of participants (players, coaches, officials and spectators)?

No, you are no longer required to keep a patron register as part of the COVID Safety Plan in phase 4.

Organisations that kept patron registers previously are required to keep the information in the register until 28 days after the State of Emergency has been lifted.

 

Returning to work

When should I return to work?

We want Western Australians back at work as soon as possible. The cautious easing of restrictions will mean more people can return to work, though there will still be some exceptions.

If you’re unsure about whether to return to work, contact your employer to discuss your workplace plan.

What should I do if I’m concerned my workplace is not safe or if I am unhappy with the conditions of my return to work?

In the first instance, you should discuss your concerns with your employer and discuss ways to alleviate them.

If after discussing the matter with your employer you’re dissatisfied or still concerned, you may wish to get further advice and/or contact a workplace advocate.

I work in the public sector — should I return to work?

Employees are to continue returning to their usual places of work and working arrangements.

We’re encouraging the public sector to head back to the office unless you’re unwell or are a vulnerable employee as defined by the AHPPC.

Returning to normal working arrangements for vulnerable employees in high risk categories, including those in high risk work settings, should continue to be managed as per PSLR Circular 6/2020 – Leave arrangements for COVID-19 (PDF 121 KB).

Why don't workplaces/offices have to meet physical distancing requirements?

Gatherings which are necessary for the normal business of offices and other workplaces are not prohibited. Of course, people should still be maintaining physical distancing where possible and practicing good hygiene.

Socialising and community

If I have signed up to the COVIDSafe App, do I have to provide my details to a business required to have a patron register?

The requirement for businesses to keep a written register of patrons has been removed for Phase 4.

Can I go to the pub just to have a drink?

Yes, where possible maintain physical distancing and practice good hygiene.

Food businesses are encouraged to consider queues at the bar in their COVID Safety Plans, and patrons are encouraged to distance themselves 1.5m from other patrons.

Can I buy a drink at a pub/bar and not have to be seated to drink it?

Yes, there is no requirement in Phase 4 for alcohol to be served only while seated.

Food businesses are encouraged to consider queues at the bar in their COVID Safety Plans and patrons are encouraged to distance themselves 1.5m from other patrons.

Can I now go and play pool or go ten pin bowling?

Yes. Patrons should take all reasonable steps to keep at least 1.5 metres away from other patrons when using these facilities and practice good hygiene.

How many people can attend weddings and funerals?

The number of people that can attend these functions will be determined by the maximum capacity of the venues, based on at least 2 square metres of floor space per person.

Is my local library, senior centre or community/youth facility open?

Libraries and community facilities, such as youth centres or senior citizens centres, can open, with the maximum capacity determined by the 2 square metres per person rule.

Can my elderly relatives leave the house and socialise?

Yes. There is no prohibition on elderly relatives leaving the house. However, it is recommended they follow current health advice.

I am 75 years old, and an active volunteer in my community (e.g. church, Foodbank, op shop, etc.) Can I continue my volunteering roles?

Yes, older Western Australians can resume their volunteering roles, unless they are feeling unwell or have been advised not to by a medical professional. Physical distancing and good personal hygiene should continue to be practised where possible.

Have the rules changed for visits to aged care facilities?

Rules around visiting aged care facilities changed from 8 July 2020.

You should not enter a facility if you have:

  • returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • symptoms associated with COVID-19 including a fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath) or a temperature of 38 degrees or above.
  • not had an up-to-date influenza vaccination.

View the Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities Directions (no. 3).

Do I need to have a flu vaccination to visit an aged care facility?

Yes. People are allowed to visit relatives in aged care facilities as long as they can demonstrate receipt of this year’s flu vaccination.

This restriction has been put in place to protect older Australians who are at most risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19.

View the Visitors to Residential Aged Care facilities Directions (No. 3).

Can I visit a friend or relative in hospital?

The number of people permitted to visit a friend or relative in hospital during visiting hours has increased to 2 people at a time.

Children are able to return as visitors, and maternity patients can now be accompanied by 2 birthing partners.

Visitor restrictions to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients remain in place at all public hospitals.

As always, people should not visit patients in hospitals if they are unwell, and the guidelines still stipulate that visitors should not enter a hospital if they:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19
  • have a fever or a cold or a flu-like illness, including symptoms such as, sore throat, cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing
  • have travelled outside Australia and are therefore required to self-isolate for 14 days
    or
  • have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus and are therefore required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Can I visit an inmate in prison?

Yes, face-to-face social visits to Western Australian prisons resumed on Saturday, 27 June.

Physical distancing will apply to visits.

Custodial gymnasiums and sporting ovals are now permitted to be used and religious services have started again.

Preparation for resumption of community work and other external programs for prisoners has also started. This includes conducting risk assessments and discussions with local communities.

Visit COVID-19 update for Department of Justice for more information.

Education – TAFE, universities and schools

Attendance at school is now compulsory, except for those who are recognised as medically vulnerable or who have medically vulnerable family members.

We encourage the return to normal arrangements where possible and in accordance with the health guidelines.

TAFE has now resumed some face-to-face classes. Students are encouraged to attend where classes are held. Check with your local TAFE.

The resumption of face-to-face university lectures is not a State decision. We encourage people to return to work and study where possible and it is safe to do so.

Religious practices

Communion requires the sharing of a cup, can this practice continue?

This practice is not advised. Current health advice should be followed.

Can I go to church or my place of worship?

Yes, places of worship are permitted to open with capacity limits determined by the 2 square metres per person rule, excluding the people required to conduct the service.

There should be 2 square metres of floor space per person and patrons should practise physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres from other patrons from other households.

Travel

Can I now travel or holiday around Western Australia?

Regional restrictions have been lifted to allow people to travel anywhere within WA (except into 274 remote Aboriginal communities).

For more details see regional travel information.

People going on holiday should ensure they continue to practise physical distancing measures and good hygiene and not go on holiday if they are feeling unwell.

For information on exemptions for entry into remote Aboriginal communities visit COVID-19 coronavirus: Remote Aboriginal communities - restrictions on entering.

Can I go to Rottnest Island?

Yes. Rottnest Island and its surrounding waters can be accessed by the public. Visit the Rottnest Island website for more information.

Will the WA state borders be open in time for Christmas?

The Western Australian border will only be reopened when it is appropriate to do so based on health advice for WA. It is assessed and considered regularly.

Can I go camping now?

Yes. Please observe the following:

  • maintain physical distancing
  • the 2 square metres per person rule should be applied with particular attention to shared facilities and areas such as ablutions/camp kitchens and other communal areas
  • good hygiene practices.

Entry into remote Aboriginal communities remains restricted.

Can people come into WA for a holiday now?

No. Western Australia’s hard border closure remains in place and no exemptions will be given for people to holiday in WA.

WA’s border controls

When will the hard border come down?

Phase 6 will include the removal of WA’s hard border with the rest of the country and travel restrictions currently in place for remote Aboriginal communities.

A date for Phase 6 will be announced in due course.

It is contingent on locally acquired infection rates in the eastern states.

The WA hard border will only be removed when the WA Chief Health Officer is confident the spread of infection is controlled in the eastern states.

Will that mean I can freely travel interstate when the border is removed?

Yes.

When will the international borders go down?

The Commonwealth Government is responsible for Australia’s border controls. Currently there has been no advice as to when the international borders will be relaxed.

Page reviewed 25 September 2020