South Australia Eases Social Distancing Rules for Hospitality Area

South Australia Eases Social Distancing Rules for Hospitality Area
(Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

South Australia is easing coronavirus social distancing rules for hospitality despite contrary advice from the state’s top health officer.

It was announced on December 4 venues could transition from one person per four square metres to one person per two effective immediately.

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the decision was made by the state’s transition committee despite Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier advising it should wait until next week.

“Given the economic implications, the impact on employment, the current time of the year, our current performance ... we endorse a one person per two square metre rule for hospitality,” he said.

All other restrictions will remain in place, with a further assessment to occur next week.

SA has now gone six days in a row without recording a new case, leaving the total linked to the Parafield cluster at 33 cases with only seven considered active.

He said 275 people linked to the cluster remain in quarantine, after that figure peaked around 6000 at the height of the outbreak.

Commissioner Stevens said the take-up of QR codes, equating to about 1.1 million check-ins across the state, was a “game-changer” in terms of contact tracing.

“(This) has given us some confidence to manage the risk around this current response to the Parafield cluster,” he said.

Commissioner Stevens said he was hopeful the state could further ease restrictions on December 14 as planned.

There have been calls for increased help for the hospitality sector after SA’s brief lockdown and ongoing density limits.

A group of more than 100 hotel and restaurant workers gathered in Adelaide on Thursday to voice their concerns as the Labor opposition called on the government to provide grant support.

SA last lifted coronavirus measures on Tuesday when it also dropped all border restrictions with Victoria.

It is now open to travellers from all states and territories as well as those from New Zealand.