Coronavirus restrictions in Canberra will ease this weekend, as the ACT government prepares to make its contact tracing app mandatory for businesses.
From Saturday, Canberrans will once again be able to stand while drinking and eating at indoor venues, and seats at the territory's sports stadiums can all be filled.
As well, large indoor performance venues and cinemas will be able to operate at 75 per cent capacity, event organisers can apply for an exemption to host up to 10,000 people, up from 8000, and outdoor gatherings can have up to 1000 people, up from 500.
But the territory government has mandated that businesses will be required to use the territory government's Check In CBR app for contact tracing purposes.
ACT Business Minister Tara Cheyne said making the app compulsory would better support the territory to enter its next phase of economic recovery.
"We have seen in other jurisdictions that when the check-in process is mandated, there is an increase in compliance rates and that is what we want to see here in the ACT," she said.
"Canberrans have already been so supportive of our compliance activities because they know that local businesses rely on us all doing the right thing."
Businesses that will be required to use the app include cafes, restaurants, clubs, beauty salons, hairdressers, adult services, swimming pools, fitness centres, cultural institutions, gaming and gambling venues, and entertainment venues.
Canberra's hospitality industry previously called for the Check In CBR App to be made mandatory.
Australian Hotels Association ACT general manager Anthony Brierley said in December that contact tracing capability was being undermined by customers who refused to provide their details.
NSW mandated its Service NSW contact tracing app in November.
Businesses will have until March 6 to sign up to the Check In CBR app, when it will become mandatory for patrons.
About 6500 businesses use the Check in CBR app. It has been downloaded more than 335,000 times and there are about 45,000 check-ins a day.
The changes to the restrictions come with caveats.
Canberra Stadium, Manuka Oval, and other outdoor stadiums with tiered seating and grandstands can be at 100 per cent capacity for fixed seated events, but it has to be ticketed and a COVID safety plan must be in place.
Large indoor performance venues and cinemas must only be ticketed and seated and have a COVID safety plan.
Outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people must let ACT Health know of the event and submit a COVID safety plan for review.
The changes to restrictions will officially kick in at 9am on Saturday.
Eased restrictions in the ACT
- People can stand while eating and drinking at an indoor venue.
- Canberra Stadium and Manuka Oval crowds at 100 per cent capacity.
- Event organisers can apply for an exemption to have 10,000 people, up from 8000.
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 1000 people.
- Indoor performance venues and cinemas can have up to 75 per cent capacity.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the ACT was in a good position to take the next step in easing restrictions.
"The ACT's approach to easing of restrictions throughout the pandemic has been an ongoing journey of careful assessment and cautious change, which has enabled us to remain in a strong position while also helping ACT businesses and the community to continue to move forward," she said.
"With the mandatory use of the Check In CBR app and strong business and community compliance, we are in a good position to take further steps towards a new normal."
The easing of restrictions come as the territory's vaccine rollout is set to begin next week.