All and sundry will be welcomed back into hospitality venues and at festivals across Tasmania after the state government announced it will remove its COVID-19 number caps.
Premier Jeremy Rockliff said from midnight on Friday the one person per two square metre density restriction will no longer be required in all premises, such as cafes, pubs, clubs, restaurants, stadiums and at festivals.
He said mask requirements will be discussed in the coming weeks.
But Tasmania will remain in a state of public health emergency until at least June.
Removal of the density restrictions prompted quick celebrations from hospitality and business sectors, while Festivale organisers confirm that their iconic event will be back in 2023.
Tasmanian Hospitality Association chief executive Steve Old said removing the restriction would help the sector bounce back to pre-COVID trade levels.
"It will allow all venues to trade at 100 per cent capacity," he said.
Mr Old said removing the restrictions was a step in the right direction.
"This is a significant milestone as some venues have been capped at how many customers they have been allowed to let enter a premise, despite the upward trend in visitation in recent months," he said.
"While COVID is still prevalent in our community, Tasmanians have been extremely vigilant and I know all our operators continue to provide the safest environment possible for their patrons."
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Michael Bailey said the confusing restrictions had made it hard for some businesses to remain sustainable.
He said it was a pleasing quick decision, but indicated that the changes may not go far enough.
"We will continue to urge the government to abolish the COVID plans that were a requirement of business to reopen at the height of COVID," Mr Bailey said.
"We know that many of the requirements in these plans are unnecessary and costly."
Festivale organisers were also quick to announce that their iconic event will return to Launceston's City Park on February 3-5 next year.
Festivale chairman David Dunn said the food and wine event will return festivals and outdoor events to the state's calendar.
"This announcement gives event organisers certainty to continue planning and presenting events for people to enjoy and support local suppliers, artists and producers."
Public Health deputy director Julie Graham said businesses may continue to restrict numbers coming into their premises as part of their own COVID risk assessment plans.
"If they would like to continue to protect staff, there may still be businesses who do have restrictions on the numbers of people coming into their premises."
Regarding the return of the flu season and a predicted spike in winter sickness, Ms Graham said there were 56 recorded cases of influenza in Tasmania, and most of these had arrived from interstate.
She said it was really important that those at risk of severe disease, which included children aged 6 months to five years who have never been exposed before, individuals aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with chronic disease, should get their flu vaccinations.
State-run vaccination clinics will be offering both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations.
Health Department secretary Katherine Morgan-Wicks reminded Tasmanians that vaccine immunity could be waning and booster doses were necessary to stay protected.
She said 130,000 Tasmanians aged 16 years and over had still not had a booster, including 35,000 aged 50 +.
Those in the serious risk medical categories who require a fourth dose for full protection were also reminded to get this dose, with more than 120,000 Tasmanians in this category still needing this dose.
"The mild illness that has been experienced in January, February and into March when we were all at our strongest immunity levels will not be the same in July or August this winter," she said.
Another person died in Tasmania with coronavirus on Wednesday, with 67 individuals having died testing positive of the virus.
Despite the ease in restrictions, Mr Rockliff reminded everyone to practice COVID safe behaviours, will which continue to protect against both COVID and influenza.
"While we are stepping down restrictions it does not mean we lose our COVID safe behaviours, this is everyone's responsibility," he said.
"Please continue to practice good hand hygiene, follow social distancing, test when you have symptoms, wear masks where required in high-risk settings if you choose to do so for your own protection."
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