A rapid rise in second-dose vaccination coverage against COVID-19 in the ACT has given health authorities the confidence to relax more public health restrictions.
ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said she was surprised and incredibly pleased with how quickly vaccination coverage had increased.
"I think it's been important to be flexible and acknowledge those changes and deal with them," Dr Coleman said.
Retail will be able to resume from Friday with strict density limits in place.
Dr Coleman said she had continued to have discussions with NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant to best align the ACT's and NSW's restrictions.
"I think the next four to six weeks are going to be critical to actually monitor where the cases are at," she said.
Pressure had mounted on the ACT to allow shops to reopen after border rules were relaxed and Canberrans could cross into NSW, where shops have already reopened.
Dr Coleman said health authorities would change the way COVID-19 cases in the ACT were reported, including no longer reporting the proportion of unlinked cases.
The ACT was no longer trying to eliminate the virus from the community and would instead focus contact tracing efforts on cases that present the largest risk to the community, she said.
Dr Coleman said health authorities were still unsure what COVID normal would look like, but they were currently focused on getting to Christmas.
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"I would suggest that there will be no further changes to the advice provided to the starting point of next Friday. I think what I'm really interested in seeing is how NSW, Victoria and ourselves respond to the 80 per cent changes," she said.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr defended the changes to the reopening timeline in the ACT, saying "not every single factor is within our control".
"When facts change or the circumstance changes, we reserve the right, as we have throughout, to recalibrate our approach. What I want to assure everyone is that we act with a balanced approach: public health first, getting people back to work [is] also a priority, on the advice of the chief health officer," Mr Barr said.
More to come
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