The ACT Opposition Leader has slammed changes to coronavirus restrictions as too complicated and too late, and called for the territory's social-distancing regime to match NSW rules.
"The ACT is in a better position than NSW. Therefore the ACT, I think, can be trusted to go further than NSW. Instead the opposite has occurred," Alistair Coe said on ABC Radio Canberra on Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Andrew Barr unveiled Canberra's staged easing of restrictions, the next step of which will come into force on Saturday.
Cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs will be able to serve up to 20 people per enclosed space. Non-essential businesses including beauty therapy and group fitness classes at gyms will also be able to reopen, with patron limits.
The restrictions will apply per enclosed space in each venue, which means some large businesses may be able to host up to 200 people at one time, Mr Barr says.
However, Mr Coe said the changes were difficult to navigate and came too late for businesses to prepare.
"The fundamental principle the ACT government should be following is social distancing and good hygiene," he said.
"Unfortunately, what we've got today, I think, is very, very complex, and I don't know how businesses are going to be able to comply with it in just a few days."
Mr Coe said Canberrans should be "trusted" after success in flattening the curve to stop the spread of COVID-19.
"I just find it staggering that we've got restaurants that are well used to good hygiene practices, we've got clubs that know how to keep their premises clean, yet they're not being trusted," he said.
"Yet we're quite happy for hundreds and hundreds to be in a hardware store or in supermarket, or thousands in a shopping mall. It just doesn't make sense."
On Wednesday, he said instead of patron limits social distancing should be enforced in venues.
"The key issue here is the 1.5-metre rule. A simple rule could be that dining parties have to be more than 1.5m from the nearest dining party," he said.
He expected to see "very little change" for hundreds of Canberra businesses under the new rules.
"There are better opportunities at the moment for businesses in Queanbeyan and Goulburn and Yass than in the ACT."