Tasmania to phase out more mask rules

Premier Jeremy Rockliff is expected to visit the governor to ask for an early election.

Premier Jeremy Rockliff is expected to visit the governor to ask for an early election. Photo: AAP

Tasmania will soon drop public transport and school mask mandates, and is set to welcome back large cruise ships in October.

Premier Jeremy Rockliff on Wednesday announced the easing of coronavirus measures as the island state prepares to lift its public health emergency from June 30.

From June 25, masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport, including the Spirit of Tasmania, and in schools or early childhood education and care centres.

The mask mandate didn’t apply to primary school students.

From June 30, mask wearing at hospitals, aged care facilities, disability providers and correctional facilities won’t be mandatory but instead based on a risk assessment for each setting.

Department of Health Deputy Secretary Dale Webster said the majority of government facilities would still enforce mask wearing.

In line with a nationwide move announced earlier this week, masks won’t be mandatory at the state’s airports from Saturday.

Tasmania, which dropped a ban on small cruise ships in December, will allow large vessels to return for the next cruise season in October.

“(This will provide) a welcome boost to local businesses and our economy after nearly three years without,” Mr Rockliff said.

Tasmania has recorded 81 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic and has 3845 active cases with 43 hospitalisations, including two people in intensive care.

The state’s seven-day new case average is in the 600s, compared to around 1000 in May.

“The public health emergency will be over but we are not treating things as if COVID is over,” Public Health Director Mark Veitch said.

“We are still seeing around about 500 cases a day, which is probably around as many cases as you see at the peak of influenza season.

“It’s still causing hospitalisation. Unfortunately it’s still causing occasional deaths.

“However we feel the measures that have been in place up until now … that have achieved a high-level of vaccination … are such that we can ease back on public health mandates.”

Mr Webster indicated the state government vaccination mandate for healthcare workers would continue after June 30, despite emergency powers ending.


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