Canberra's pubs and bars will be able to accommodate more patrons indoors under an easing of coronavirus restrictions from December 2.
But Canberrans won't be able to revel in a New Year's Eve fireworks display, as the ongoing pandemic forces the ACT government to rethink how it holds major events.
The National Multicultural Festival will be postponed, likely until the end of 2021. Australia Day celebrations will also be changed.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr on Thursday announced a further lifting of restrictions and revealed plans for the staging of Canberra's upcoming calendar of events.
The announcement came as a repatriation flight carrying 120 Australians who had been stranded overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic touched down in the nation's capital.
In a boost for Canberra's long-suffering hospitality venues, Mr Barr announced that pubs and bars would be allowed one patron per two square metres in their indoors space from 9am on Wednesday - provided the venue was using the Check In CBR tracing application.
"This is one of the most effective measures that we have to quickly and effectively manage any potential outbreak," he said.
Venues will have until December 16 to start using the application.
The announcement came after some of Canberra's most popular drinking spots this week banded together to call on the Barr government to urgently ease density restrictions, amid fears venues could be forced into hibernation.
Among the other changes to come into effect on December 2, the cap on crowd numbers at Manuka Oval and GIO Stadium will be lifted to 65 per cent of the venues' capacity.
Cinemas and theatres will also be able to sell 65 per cent of their seats, up to a maximum of 500, provided the venues are using the government's contact tracing app to collect patron details.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the changes struck a balance between moving forward and protecting the community from COVID-19.
Restrictions will next be considered in February.
"This will give the chief health officer enough time to review these changes and make deciosisn based on the current health advice ... post the busy summer holiday period," she said.
Ms Stephen-Smith said widespread us of the Check-In CBR app would give the government confidence it could respond to an outbreak quickly and effectively.
The check-in details go directly to ACT Health and are only accessed in the event of a COVID case at a location a user has visited.
Canberra's calendar of summer events will look vastly different due to the pandemic.
The traditional New Year's Eve fireworks display and concert in Civic Square won't go ahead, with the ACT government to instead stage smaller events in each of the city's town centres.
Other festivals and events, such as Enlighten, Canberra Balloon Spectacular and Canberra Day, will be able to proceed but with changes to ensure compliance with health rules.
The biggest blow to the event's calendar is the postponement of the popular National Multicultural Festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people to Canberra's city centre each February.
For faster access to the latest Canberra news, download The Canberra Times app for iOS and Android.