Drawbridge to drop

THE countdown to Tasmania’s border reopening is just days away and the possibility of Covid-positive cases coming to the state is inevitable.

The State Government is adamant borders will open to other states on Wednesday, December 15, and is pleading with unvaccinated Tasmanians, to get the jab.

Visitors are expected to arrive in droves, with popular locations like Port Arthur, the Tasman Peninsula, South East beaches and the East Coast to see visitation lift. All visitors will need to be fully vaccinated.

Those coming from states that have community transmission must provide a negative Covid test 72 hours before arrival.

There are now 91.4 per cent of Tasmanians aged 12 and over having had at least one dose, and 83.3 per cent fully vaccinated.

The target remains to have at least 90 per cent fully vaccinated for Tasmanians by the time borders open.

With 12 to 18-year-olds lagging behind in the vaccination stakes, the Government announced a five-day blitz and incentive program, offering up to 50 prizes of iPads and iPhones for teenagers who got the jab during the promotion period.

It has resulted in thousands of additional young people turning up to clinics to be vaccinated.

The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the plan for the border reopening.

TCCI chief executive Michael Bailey said businesses could now look forward with confidence. “The sooner border restrictions ease, the sooner businesses can rebuild,” he said.

In preparation for the growing number of visitors as well as anticipated summer events the Government has announced several changes to its social event rules with more expected in coming weeks.

Restrictions on patron caps for indoor (currently 100) and outdoor drinking (currently 250) and dancing will be lifted on the basis that patrons and staff are fully vaccinated.

This will apply for patrons from December 6 and for staff from December 15 for events, this means that if you have an approved limit of 5000, everyone attending can stand up and drink or dance, so long as patrons and staff are fully vaccinated.

Travellers have been warned that strong border controls remaining, with multiple check points.

People flouting the rules face an on-the-spot fine of $1557.

Police will also have powers to arrest people, or they could be summonsed and charged with a penalty of up to $17,000 or six months in prison.

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