THE Limestone Coast community is gearing up for a major reduction in COVID-19 restrictions with the State Government announcing it will repeal South Australia’s strict stay at home order from midnight tomorrow (Sunday 12.01am), three days earlier than initially stated.
The surprise announcement came Friday lunchtime with Police Commissioner Grant Stevens revealing SA authorities had instigated the lockdown on the premise a person had contracted COVID-19 after a brief visit to an Adelaide pizza bar – a claim since found to be a false.
Authorities discovered the man had lied and was a close contact of a known case.
“This person’s actions have had a devastating impact on our community,” Comm Stevens said, stating authorities had introduced the six-day lockdown under a false premise.
Comm Stevens said to his understanding, the man could not face penalties for not being truthful with authorities.
The state has recorded three new coronavirus cases today, all of which were in quarantine.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier expected confirmed case numbers to increase in the coming days as people in quarantine continue routine COVID-19 testing.
Addressing mixed messages surrounding masks, Comm Stevens said masks were not compulsory but “strongly” urged people to wear them.
The announcement came on the same day it was revealed Mount Gambier’s Southgate Motel would cease operations as a medi-hotel on November 29, ahead of the planned relaxation of quarantine requirements for those entering South Australia from Victoria.
The medi-hotel, which has been operational since August, has safely quarantined 204 people since it was instated, recording zero positive COVID-19 cases during that time.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the Limestone Coast Local Health Network said the model proprietors should be congratulated for recognising the importance of establishing a medi-hotel in the region, easing the travel burden for those needing to quarantine locally and ensuring the risk of a potential community outbreak could be safely managed.
The Southgate Motel will reopen to the community on November 30.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY STARTS WITH LOCAL SUPPORT
A MAJORITY of the region’s retail outlets and hospitality businesses will be able to reopen from Sunday morning following the State Government’s easing of strict COVID-19 regulations.
While density requirements and venue caps will remain, the change has been widely welcomed across the region but has left some businesses scrambling to arrange staff schedules, secure supplies and prepare for the return of customers.
Mount Gambier Chamber of Commerce president Hayley Neumann praised the Limestone Coast community for how quickly it responded to the lockdown requirements, expressing gratitude businesses could reopen earlier than expected.
“I’m sure there are some very frustrated business owners though that missed out on several days trade, sold stock cheaply to clear fridges or even had food lost,” Ms Neumann said.
“We all now need to patiently wait until Sunday and Monday when we can all go and support our local shops.
“They’ll need time to get organised, roster staff and order stock but I’m sure their all excited to get back to business.
“More than ever we need to get out their to our local businesses, restaurants, cafes and shops – they all need us there spending our local dollar.”
GET INTO GEAR, GYMS ARE BACK
A MAJOR barrier to physical activity was removed at lunchtime Friday as Premier Steven Marshall announced individuals or people living in the same household could leave their property for exercise.
The inability to leave home for a walk, run or bike ride drew the ire of many residents following Wednesday’s lockdown announcement but less than 48 hours after the ban came into effect, they were free to get their fix.
In a major win for the region’s gyms, these facilities will be permitted to open from Sunday 12.01am.
It is significant progress for gym owners, who were forced to close from Tuesday after restrictions were tightened due to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in Adelaide.
Gyms were also heavily impacted during the last round of major restrictions enforced nationally earlier this year.
That experience had prepared many gyms for the latest changes, with Mount Gambier’s Iron Will HQ quick to revert its members to an online at-home training program.
Owners Zach and Victoria Doidge – who operate the gym as their family of four’s main income source – said they were grateful gyms had been given the green light to operate.
“For us, training is our anchor and our therapy, it helps keep our values in check and we know that this view is shared by not just our own members, but by everyone that partakes in any fitness activity,” Mr Doidge said.
“For a lot of these people, gyms are a haven for where they can switch off from the stresses of life and put in some good old fashion hard work amongst there fellow members,” he said.
Mr Doidge said while online options were available, they were not sustainable for long durations and could ultimately negatively impact people’s motivation and wellbeing.
GROCERY LIMITS TO GO
WOOLWORTHS will remove product limits across all categories in South Australia from tomorrow as demand moderates across the state.
The company said staff and supply partners would continue to work around the clock to restock South Australian stores.
“We’ve seen demand moderate across South Australia and we thank our customers for that,” Woolworths Supermarkets South Australia general manager Karl Weber said.
“We ask our South Australian customers to continue buying only what they need,” Mr Weber said.
“We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and reinstate product limits if we see further demand spikes.”
WHAT CHANGES FROM MIDNIGHT TOMORROW
SOUTH Australia Police has released the restrictions effective from Sunday 12.01am following the stay at home order’s repeal.
Updated gathering provisions (from Sunday 12.01am) include:
* Onsite purchase and consumption of food and beverages – 100 people maximum and no more than 10 people at each table.
* Funerals – 50 people maximum
* Weddings – 150 people maximum and registration of all guests with SA Health.
* Religious ceremonies (not including a wedding or funeral) – 100 people maximum.
* Private gatherings – 50 people maximum
* Private residence – 10 people per house (unless more than 10 people permanently reside at the residence).
* All food and beverages will need to be consumed while seated.
* Personal care workers will need to wear masks.
* Gyms are permitted to reopen.
A one person per four square metres distancing will apply and no dancing or vertical consumption is permitted.
Individual exercise or in household groups, which is permitted immediately (12pm Friday).