COVID-19: WA only State to stay closed for Christmas as Tasmania and Queensland open up

Peter Law and Jacinta CantatoreThe West Australian
WA Premier Mark McGowan.
Camera IconWA Premier Mark McGowan. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

Mark McGowan is now the only State leader refusing to reopen interstate borders by Christmas after Tasmania joined Queensland in welcoming fully vaccinated arrivals from mid-December.

Vaccinated interstate and international arrivals who return negative tests prior to travel can enter Tasmania without quarantining from December 15, when it was expected 90 per cent of over-12s would have received both jabs.

The Tasmanian plan assumes vaccination and restrictions, such as yet-to-be-defined density limits and masks in high-risk indoor settings, would limit deaths to 87 in the first 200 days.

Queensland’s roadmap to reopening will allow vaccinated travellers from December 17, while the NT is planning to ease its border controls late next month and SA is aiming for a “normal Christmas”.

Mr McGowan, who has said WA’s border would stay shut to COVID States until sometime next year, predicted a “much more difficult” Christmas for Tasmanians.

“(Tasmania) are going to bring in all sorts of restrictions on the community,” he said.

“That’s going to mean restrictions on restaurants, cafes, small businesses, it’s going to mean mask wearing over Christmas and over the school holidays. It’ll have a very dramatic effect on their economy ... it’ll make Christmas a much more difficult period for people.”

It comes as a poll of 814 residents in the Liberal-held Federal seat of Swan found the majority of respondents supported the Premier’s plan to reopen after 80 to 90 per cent vaccination.

The poll, conducted by Redbridge from October 9 to 12, showed 27.6 per cent wanted WA’s border open at 80 per cent vaccination and 33.5 per cent wanted to wait until 90 per cent coverage.

Meanwhile, Australia’s largest hotel operator, Accor, challenged Mr McGowan to have the “courage” to set a date for reopening WA to the rest of Australia.

“The WA State Government are creating great uncertainty for tourism workers, and businesses and workers are losing money,” Accor Pacific chief executive Simon McGrath said.

It comes as hundreds of people yesterday rallied outside Parliament, pictured above, against the WA Government’s “no jab, no job” vaccine mandate for one million workers. It was the third day of protests.

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