Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan has detailed plans to reopen the state’s border once 90 per cent of eligible citizens are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Premier says this target could be met sometime around January or February 2022.
The Premier announced on Friday that the state with some of the country’s strictest COVID restrictions will finally open its borders next year.
“This puts us in the best possible position to transition with minimal impact on our health, our economy, and our way of life,” said McGowan.
“We have done so well. We do not want to fall at the last hurdle.”
The state is the last in Australia to announce a reopening plan.
McGowan has said he expects vaccination rates to hit 80 per cent in December. It will take approximately a quarter of a million more Western Australians to get vaccinated before they will reach the 90 per cent goal.
“I want to stress the 90 per cent target threshold could be reached earlier or later, but once we hit 80 per cent and then set the specific date for transition, that date will be locked in,” said McGowan.
“After nearly two years, we’re on the verge of a new chapter. A chapter that will reconnect Western Australian with the rest of the world but done the right way—the Western Australian way, safely, carefully, and responsibly.
“To rush it increases risk and increases harm.”
Western Australians will be subject to some restrictions once borders are opened. These include the wearing of face masks in “high-risk indoor settings” such as public transport and hospitals.
For those hoping to enter nightclubs, casinos, or concerts, proof of vaccination will be required.
Australians will be able to enter WA subject to certain entry restrictions. Incomers will need to be fully vaccinated and return a negative PCR test prior to their departure.
International travelers will need to be fully vaccinated or complete 14 days of quarantine.
McGowan stressed that these restrictions will be a temporary measure to ensure a smooth transition upon reopening.
“I understand there will be a disappointment for some. I acknowledge some people will be frustrated. They may not be able to be reunited with family from New South Wales or Victoria over Christmas,” said McGowan.
McGowan further said that, upon locking in a transition date, that date would be honoured regardless of whether the 90 per cent goal was reached. However, that may result in increased or tightened health measures. The Premier determined the goal of 90 per cent vaccinations based on hospital capacity.
“It’s in your hands, so roll up for WA before it’s too late,” McGowan said.