Queensland will drop restrictions on fully vaccinated people and businesses, and restrict all hospital visits for unvaccinated people, once 80 per cent of eligible people are fully vaccinated in the state.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said when Queensland hit the target, or December 17 at the latest, businesses and hospitality venues would be able to operate without any COVID-19 restrictions, provided all staff and patrons were fully vaccinated.
At the 80 per cent rate, unvaccinated people will be barred from hospitals, aged-care and disability-care facilities, except in emergency or end-of-life situations.
“This is both a reward for the fully vaccinated and a proportion for when the borders open and we will see more more cases in our community and people deserve to know that they can go to these places and that they are safe,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Tuesday.
“This is our next step in keeping Queenslanders safe.”
The announcement followed an earlier confirmation from the Premier that mandatory face masks would go in Queensland when the state hit its 80 per cent first dose COVID-19 vaccine target – expected on Tuesday or Wednesday.
“That means no masks indoors including schools, cafes, pubs, clubs, hairdressers and workplaces,” a post on her official Twitter feed said on Tuesday.
Ms Palaszczuk said masks wouldn’t be needed in 11 local government areas in the heavily-populated south-east when the single dose figure hits 80 per cent.
Commonwealth figures show at least 79.6 per cent of Queenslanders 16 years and over have had their first dose and 67.4 per cent are double-dosed.
“This is another small step back towards life as normal,” she said.
“Queenslanders have done an incredible job all through the pandemic and this is their reward. The more of us who are vaccinated, the faster we return to life the way it used to be.”
Currently, masks must be carried at all times and worn when people cannot socially distance in Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Lockyer, Somerset, Logan, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gold Coast and Scenic Rim.
They are also mandatory on public transport, when arriving and leaving venues and stadiums, and at schools for students and teachers when they were not seated or teaching.
The face mask mandate will remain in force in all airports and on planes in Queensland, in line with federal rules.
Queensland had no new local virus cases on Tuesday and one in hotel quarantine after 8121 tests.
ACT winds back rules early
Canberra nightclubs will reopen and visitor limits to homes will be scrapped sooner than expected, after the ACT government brought forward the easing of virus restrictions.
The changes were brought forward by two weeks due to the ACT’s high vaccination rate, which has passed 95 per cent.
From midnight on Friday, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues can host events with 100 per cent capacity, while restrictions on cinemas and swimming pools will also be relaxed.
Limits have been scrapped for visitors to the home or informal outdoor gatherings.
More people will be allowed in pubs, cafes, restaurants and retail with density restrictions eased to one per two square metres.
Density limits will no longer apply to outdoor spaces.
Nightclubs will also be able to reopen with dancing permitted, while punters will be able to drink while standing up.
Organised sport can also restart in indoor settings.
Face masks will only be required in high-risk settings such as aged care, hospitals, public transport and in schools.
However, the government is still urging Canberrans to wear face masks in crowded settings.
The measures will remain in place over the Christmas period and will be reviewed by health authorities in late January.