Mask mandate to be dropped as South Australia records six COVID-related deaths


South Australians will be spared from wearing masks in most public indoor spaces from Good Friday, while the state’s QR code check-in regime will be “mothballed”.

Masks will still be needed in high-risk environments like hospitals, seniors’ or disabled people’s residences, on public transportation, and in ride-sharing vehicles.

A decision on whether to keep them in schools will be taken in a few weeks, before the end of the next school holidays.

SA’s extended mask regime is among the strictest in the country and has been in place since mid-2021, around the time of the July lockdown.

The state today recorded six more deaths of people with COVID-19 and 4,401 new cases. The deceased were three men and three women aged between 50 and 90.

“Although we are still seeing a large number of cases, they are largely in line or well below what was originally expected just three weeks ago, which presents good news,” Premier Peter Malinauskas said.

He said the changes to the mask and QR code rules would bring South Australia in line with most other states.

“Come Good Friday, we will see a substantial relaxation of the requirement to wear masks in South Australia,” Mr Malinauskas said.

“I think it’s something that brings a lot of relief to people, especially those who wear them out of necessity rather than choice.”

QR code check-ins had already been dropped in some areas, including shops, taxis, ride-sharing and home inspections.

Mr Malinauskas said they would be ‘mothballed’ but left open the possibility of a future reversal of that decision.

“I choose the word ‘mothballing’ as opposed to ‘abolition’ of the QR code regime, because that may well be the case at some point in the future, it may have to be put back in place”, a- he declared.

“It’s an ability that, God forbid…may need to come back online.”

QR codes – like masks – will now only be required in a few high-risk facilities.

“If you are in a hospital, public or private, you will be required to wear a mask. In an aged care facility or in a residential facility for the disabled, the mask requirement will be maintained. Likewise on public transport or carpooling,” Malinauskas said. mentioned.

The Prime Minister said wearing a mask remains a choice and people who choose to continue wearing it should feel comfortable in their choice to do so.

“There’s nothing wrong with choosing to wear a mask if you feel like it gives you or your family or a loved one greater protection,” he said. .

Businesses will still be free to mandate mask-wearing if they wish, while schools could retain their current mask requirements if such a measure is deemed “mandatory”.

“We will assess the requirement to wear masks in schools as we get closer to the resumption of school, which is still three weeks away,” Malinauskas said.

The Prime Minister also signaled the relaxation of close contact rules for the airline industry, to ensure ease of travel.

“There is a problem our airlines are facing in terms of the ability to hire staff to meet the increasing demand that is coming on the line and there is a change in the arrangement around close contact requirements. for the airline industry allowing that to happen,” he said.

More soon.

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