South Australia will ease a range of coronavirus restrictions next week, including a move to allow bigger family gatherings in time for Christmas, as the number of active infections drops to zero.
Premier Steven Marshall says the changes follow a meeting of the transition committee on Tuesday and will all apply from December 14.
They were imposed last month after a cluster of COVID-19 cases was sparked when a guard at a medi-hotel picked up the virus from a returned traveller.
“South Australia has no new cases today and no active cases in the entire state,” Mr Marshall said.
“I want to really congratulate every single person in South Australia.
“We stared down this cluster. We stared down this second wave in South Australia and now we’re all going to be the beneficiaries in the lead-up to Christmas.”
Under the revised measures home gatherings will rise from 10 people to 50 while patrons in pubs and restaurants will be allowed to consume drinks while standing up.
Other changes include increasing the size of funerals and weddings to 200 while the capacity in entertainment venues, such as theatres of cinemas, will rise from 50 per cent to 75 per cent.
The QR code check-in system, used to enhance contact tracing, will be expanded to all retail outlets and SA will drop its general recommendation for people to work from home.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said it was the right time to ease restrictions.
“This is the right time to do this. This is not about a Christmas present to the state of South Australia,” he said.
“This is something that should happen and it’s happening now.”
But Mr Stevens said SA was yet to reach what could be described as COVID normal – a level of restrictions that would remain in place until the widespread distribution of a vaccine – with some more revisions likely early in the new year.
SA reported no new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday for the 10th day in a row, leaving the Parafield cluster at 33.
But the state no longer has any active infections and only about 200 close contacts in isolation.
It also resumed taking returned travellers with a flight from Singapore touching down with 72 passengers.
They will all be tested for the virus and any who test positive will be moved to rooms on two dedicated floors of a quarantine hotel to keep them separated from other guests.
The two floors will have the capacity to take 43 people, with guests to be spaced out and have access to 24-hour nursing and mental health care.
All security will be provided by police.
The state government is still working to secure a permanent and separate facility to house people with COVID-19 in a bid to remove them completely from the hotel quarantine system.