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ACT announces path out of COVID lockdown

·2-min read

The ACT has outlined its path out of COVID restrictions, with Canberra's lockdown set to end on October 15.

However, Chief Minister Andrew Barr says vaccinated ACT residents will not be afforded any additional freedoms compared to those yet to get a vaccine.

Some restrictions will be eased from Friday ahead of the end of the lockdown, including residents being able to have two visitors in their home.

Restrictions will ease further on October 15, such as the reopening of pubs and restaurants with density limits, hairdressers reopening with up to five customers and gyms opening with strict measures in place.

Further relaxation of restrictions will take place on October 29, which will allow for increased density limits, the reopening of retail and the restart of ticketed events for up to 500 people.

Students will also be able to return to in-person learning at schools for most year groups from October 18, with all students to return by November 1.

The news came on the same day the ACT recorded its first death from COVID-19 during the current outbreak - a man in his 90s who was in palliative care at an aged care facility in Canberra's north before catching the virus.

The man is the fourth fatality from the virus in Canberra since the pandemic began.

There are now 14 cases linked to the aged care facility, 10 of those being residents.

Mr Barr said the development of the roadmap was being carried out before news of the death came through.

"It serves as a reminder for everyone that COVID is real," Mr Barr said.

"It will take people from us, at whatever stage of life."

The chief minister said there would not be extra freedoms for Canberrans who had received a COVID-19 vaccine, due to the high vaccination rates in the territory.

NSW, which outlined its roadmap on Monday, will have some extra freedoms for the fully vaccinated for a period of time.

"We're not going to go through the administrative nightmare for about three weeks," Mr Barr said.

"The pathway forward does not require someone to be vaccinated."

The chief minister said vaccine mandates would still be in place for high-risk settings.

The end of the lockdown will also see the end of mask mandates for outdoor areas, but will still be required indoors.

Interstate travel is on the cards for the end of November or early December, but will be subject to restrictions in other jurisdictions.

"Our hope is that Christmas will look more normal for everyone," he said.

Despite the news of the reopening, Mr Barr predicted case numbers could increase into the hundreds each day once restrictions eased.

Monday's coronavirus figures showed 19 new cases in the ACT.

Of those, 17 were linked and seven were in quarantine for all of their infectious period.

There are eight people in hospital with COVID-19, three of those in intensive care and on ventilators.

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