South Australia will come out of hard lockdown on Saturday night — three days early — and outdoor exercise with family or housemates will be allowed “effective immediately”, authorities have announced.
- SA has recorded three new coronavirus cases linked to the Parafield cluster
- From midnight Saturday, business will reopen with restrictions
- Authorities say a medi-hotel staffer’s “lie” led to the lockdown
It comes as the state records three new coronavirus cases, all of which were already in quarantine and were close contacts of staff at a medi-hotel and the Brompton aged care home.
Premier Steven Marshall thanked South Australians for “their spirit” during the state’s tough lockdown, which only allowed people to leave their homes once a day to obtain essential goods.
But he said authorities decided to end the lockdown after discovering one of the positive cases at the centre of the Woodville Pizza Bar coronavirus hotspot had misled contact tracers.
The man, who worked at the Stamford medi-hotel, told authorities he contracted coronavirus after purchasing a pizza, but it has been revealed that he was actually working at the pizza shop — increasing his exposure to the virus.
The South Australian lockdown will end at midnight on Saturday.(ABC News: Michael Clements)
“One of the close contacts linked to the Woodville Pizza Bar deliberately misled the contact tracing team,” Mr Marshall said.
“We know now that they lied. To say that I’m fuming is an understatement, we’re absolutely livid about the actions of this individual.
“However, this lie still means that our contact tracers need breathing space to contact people, but not for as long.”
Police guard the Woodville Pizza Bar after the announcement the lockdown would end early.(ABC News: Simon Christie)
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the pizza worker who lied to authorities would not be fined or charged for his actions, with the Premier adding that he has to ensure an “increased penalty wouldn’t force information underground”.
“We’ve got to look at this, we’ve got to [find a] balance,” he said.
Grant Stevens says there are currently no penalties for lying to contact tracers, after a man misled health authorities in SA.
From midnight Saturday, groups of up to 50 people will be allowed at private functions and funerals, up to 10 people can go to a private residence and up to 100 people can attend a pub or restaurant with certain restrictions in place.
Premises will need to abide by capacity restrictions of one person per four square metres.
“Seated consumption is required across all venues that provide consumption of food and beverage on premises,” Mr Stevens said.
“Personal care providers — that’s hairdressers, beauty therapists — will be required to wear masks and still strongly encouraging patrons of those facilities to wear masks at the same time.
“Good news is that gyms will be able to open at the same time as these restrictions come into place midnight Saturday.”
People in Adelaide have wasted no time getting out for a walk following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.(ABC News: Brant Cumming)
‘Not out of the woods yet’
SA Health Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said contact tracers still needed to ensure anyone possibly exposed to the virus was in quarantine.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” she said.
“And we have had a focus on the Woodville Pizza Bar, but we have also got that large family cluster.”
She said that positive coronavirus cases were expected to rise in South Australia “over the next couple of days” because it was still “so early in the beginning of this cluster”.
“Please do not be alarmed by that, it is something we are expecting,” she said.
A lone bus travels the normally busy King William Road in Adelaide’s inner south on Thursday night.(ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)
‘Roller coaster ride’ for businesses
Almost all of South Australia’s businesses closed from Wednesday because of the coronavirus directions.
They will mostly be able to open from midnight on Saturday, but under the strict conditions that came into force on Monday night.
Business SA chief executive Martin Haese said the three-day ‘roller coaster ride” shutdown had cost businesses “many millions of dollars”.
The organisation particularly wants regional businesses to be able to go back to restrictions in place last week and the lockdown to end at midnight tonight, rather than Saturday night in Adelaide.
It said compensation could be based on figures used for power outages.
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