Western Australia will reopen to the rest of the nation when its 90 per cent of its eligible population is double jabbed, which is expected in either late January or early February.
Premier Mark McGowan has released the state’s roadmap out of the pandemic, which included the reopening of its borders to interstate and international visitors.
All those coming into WA must be fully vaccinated, test negative to Covid 72 hours before departure and get tested again within 48 hours of entering. Unvaccinated visitors from overseas will still have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
“What’s unique about our plan is that it’s intended for border controls to ease at a point where there is no community transmission in Western Australia, combined with very, very high levels of vaccination,” McGowan said.
“This puts us in the best possible position to transition with minimal impact on our health, our economy, and our way of life.”
It has been almost two years since the state introduced border restrictions.
“We will announce the specific transition day after we’ve achieved a double-dose vaccination rate of 80 per cent,” McGowan said. “That’s expected to be reached in December.
“I want to stress the 90 per cent target threshold could be reached earlier or later but once we hit 80 per cent and then set the specific date for transition, that date will be locked in to provide everyone with the certainty they need to plan ahead and be prepared for the next stage of this pandemic.”
Currently, 63.7 per cent of residents aged 12 and over in the state are fully vaccinated, with close to 80 per cent with one jab.
Tourism Council WA welcomed the announcement of the Safe Transition Plan but said a reopening date was needed urgently to give tourism businesses time to plan and allow visitors to book trips.
“Without a date for reopening, people can’t book family reunions or other travel, and tourism businesses can’t recruit staff or plan to reopen,” Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said.
“Every day WA remains without a date, we are at a disadvantage to other States for recruiting staff, attracting visitors and keeping tourism businesses going.”
Hall warned Perth tourism businesses would need support to survive another holiday period without interstate and international visitors.
“Many more will close before the borders reopen as late as February,” he said.
“By February, Perth tourism businesses will have endured close to two years of international border closures. Almost three more months without customers is a long time for businesses without an income.”