Tasmania’s borders will remain shut until at least December as Victoria continues to battle its second wave of COVID-19.
Premier Peter Gutwein made the announcement on Tuesday, saying it allowed sufficient time for the COVID-19 situation in Victoria to be brought under control.
Western Australia has also delayed easing its restrictions due to Victoria’s latest outbreak.
‘At the moment, the risk posed to Tasmania by the situation in Victoria is considerable,’ Mr Gutwein said.
‘We must avoid a situation like Victoria or NSW, as we would have to impose serious restrictions once again.’
Mr Gutwein said the clear date of December 1 would provide certainty to the community and local businesses, which have been hit hard by the drop in tourism.
Tasmania was the first state to close its borders on March 19.
Currently it has just one active coronavirus case, a man in hospital who returned from Melbourne after receiving medical treatment earlier in August.
The government is now offering grants to Tasmanians to encourage them to holiday at home to help out the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sector.
The ‘Make yourself at home’ grant, worth $7.5million, will be offer from September, until November for Tasmanians who travel outside of their municipality, to stay midweek in accommodation.
‘The support will provide up to $100 towards the cost of a room in commercial accommodation, or up to $50 per booking to participate in a tourism experience whether that be a cruise, a walk or entry to an attraction such as the Port Arthur Historic Site or the Tahune Airwalk,’ the premier said.
Western Australia has also delayed its easing of restrictions after recording one new case on Tuesday.
The new case is a person in hotel quarantine, and takes the total active cases in the state to five.
Premier Mark McGowan said the state won’t move to Level Five of its recovery plan until October 24 – having previously extended it in two week blocks.
Under Level Five, the two metre rule and the 50 per cent capacity rule for venues are removed.
‘I know this will cause some frustrations and problems for some parts of our community,’ Mr McGowan said.
‘I can understand many people were hoping and planning for phase five to be introduced sooner and this decision will throw those plans out.
‘But proceeding to phase five too soon is just not appropriate right now.
‘We are trying to find the right balance here between protecting our community and keeping our economy as open as possible.
‘We simply can’t afford to get complacent because the virus could sneak back into Western Australia and spread like wildfire.’
Victoria recorded another 222 cases and 17 deaths on Tuesday – a significant drop from a record high of 725 cases on August 6.
Thirteen of the 17 new fatalities are linked to aged care facilities, and eight of those people were in their 90s, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed.
Victoria’s case numbers have dropped to less than 300 in recent days, with a further 282 cases confirmed on Monday.
Mr Andrews confirmed on Tuesday there are 665 Victorians in hospital, 45 of those are in intensive care and 32 require a ventilator.
Metropolitan Melbourne has been under tough Stage Four restrictions – including an 8pm curfew – while regional Victoria is under stage-three measures.
The lockdowns are in place until at least September 13 after Mr Andrews extended the State of Emergency and lockdown by four weeks.
Since August 2, Victoria has also been in a State of Disaster, which can remain in place for up to one month, and may then be renewed.