Retail to open, outdoor masks to go and travel to Sydney allowed under major changes to ACT COVID-19 roadmap


Retail will reopen by the end of the week and travel will be permitted in all of New South Wales at the end of the month, under a raft of new changes to the ACT’s roadmap announced today. 

The territory hit 80 per cent double-dose vaccination yesterday, prompting the ACT government to bring forward freedoms for Canberrans and local business owners.

“Reaching the 80 per cent milestone is a significant achievement,” ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.

“Canberrans should be really proud of how our community has worked together and given us the best opportunity to manage the expected increase in cases as the nation starts to reopen.

“We are now well on our way to having close to 99 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated by the end of November.”

The major changes will also see capacity limits increased for venues and major events, outdoor masks scrapped and food courts to reopen earlier than planned.

A closed cafe with chairs stacked on the tables.
Non-essential retail will reopen its doors from Friday, under major announcements to the ACT’s roadmap announced today. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Non-essential retail returns

Over the weekend, local businesses complained that they were losing local customers across the border to New South Wales, where retail settings were more lenient. 

Today, Mr Barr said non-essential retailers in the ACT could open their doors to customers from Friday, October 22. 

“As a result of reaching this [80 per cent double-dose vaccination], the ACT Government is in a position to bring forward the recommencement of non-essential retail to 11:59pm on Thursday 21, under a 1 person per 4 square metres (1 per 4 sqm) rule,” Mr Barr said.

Mr Barr said these restrictions would be eased further by the end of the month. 

“With high vaccination rates and stable average case numbers over the last couple of weeks, the government will further ease restrictions from 29 October,” he said.

“This includes the relaxation of capacity limits across a number of different industries, including hospitality and major events.

“From 29 October, food courts in the ACT will also be able to reopen under a 1 per 4 sqm model.”

Bondi beach during covid lockdown AAP Dan Himbrechts
ACT residents will be permitted to travel to Greater Sydney from November 1, under changes to the ACT’s roadmap announced today. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Canberrans to visit Sydney at end of month

Today’s changes also permit Canberrans to travel to Greater Sydney from November 1 without the need to quarantine when they return, ending confusion over ongoing border arrangements between the two jurisdictions.

“Subject to the public health risk at the time, the ACT will remove the COVID-Affected Area declaration across NSW from 1 November,” Mr Barr said.

“This aligns with the decision from the NSW Government to allow travel from Greater Sydney into their regional areas from 1 November.”

A view across the water of the Sydney Opera House on the left, with the city central business district on the right.
The ACT government will still be able to declare high-risk LGAs in NSW as COVID-affected areas if an outbreak occurs.(ABC/Unsplash: Dan Freeman)

Mr Barr said health authorities will assess individual local government areas (LGAs) within the state if they pose a significant risk to public health. 

“Similar to the arrangements the ACT had in place throughout most of this year, the ACT will move to an individual LGA assessment of public health risk from 1 November,” Mr Barr said.

“This will allow the ACT Chief Health Officer to declare high-risk LGAs as COVID-affected areas with relevant stay at home or quarantine requirements, should a hotspot emerge.”

However, ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said it was unlikely travel restrictions between the ACT and Victoria would change before November 1. 

“We’re watching Victoria very closely, they are in a completely different position to NSW,” Dr Coleman said.

“I don’t think the COVID-affected declaration will be removed before November 1, but we are also working very closely with NSW, recognising that a block approach in how we deal with Victoria is preferred as well.”

Outdoor mask wearing to go, hotel quarantine no longer required

Mr Barr also announced that masks would no longer be required outdoors from October 29, but would remain mandatory indoors to “help slow the spread of the virus”.

Various people walk through Canberra wearing facemasks
ACT residents will not be required to wear a mask outdoors from October 29.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

He also said the territory would “align” with NSW’s quarantine arrangements for international arrivals from November 1, ditching mandatory hotel quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers.

In the weeks to come, Mr Barr said the focus would shift to completing second dose vaccinations.

“Our priority over the next few weeks will be to continue providing second dose vaccinations to those 68,500 mostly younger Canberrans,” Mr Barr said.

“Ensuring these Canberrans are fully vaccinated before moving to baseline public health and safety numbers will be critical to a successful reopening of our local economy.”

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Qantas international travel to resume in November, Victoria COVID cases grow, NSW COVID cases grow, NSW regional travel pushed until November 1, Daniel Andrews to stick to Victoria roadmap, ACT COVID cases grow, Anthony Byrne quits intelligence committe after IBAC inquiry


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has welcomed NSW’s plan to scrap home and hotel quarantine for fully vaccinated overseas arrivals from November 1 but said this is “about Australian residents and citizens first”, not tourists.

“I’m very pleased that the NSW government has advised …that they will be in a position to move to a no quarantine arrangement for people arriving back in Australia from the 1st of November,” Mr Morrison said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney on Friday.Credit:James Brickwood

The change “enables us to be in a position to ensure that we can lift the caps for returning Australian citizens, residents and their families from the 1st of November into NSW”, Mr Morrison said.

“What this also means is we will be allowing Australians, permanent residents and citizens and their families, to leave Australia from wherever they live in Australia and return, but obviously the capped arrangements in other states will continue because of the vaccination levels in those states and territories.”

“The federal government is not opening … up to anything other than Australian citizens and residents and their immediate families. That is what will happen from the 1st of November in NSW, and indeed all around the country for Australians departing. To return to Australia, obviously they’d have to do that through Sydney or under the capped arrangements in other states and territories.”

Mr Morrison said “the Commonwealth government has made no decision to allow other visa holders, student visa holders, international visitors … to come to Australia under these arrangements”.

“They are decisions for the Commonwealth government and when we are in a position to make that decision down the track, obviously in NSW, they will be able to do so if they are vaccinated without having to quarantine.”

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said earlier this morning that hotel quarantine would be a “thing of the past” from November 1 for fully vaccinated returning Australians as well as tourists. He said NSW would get tourists back as quickly as possible but “returning Australians will naturally be the first cab off the rank”.

Under the NSW plan, people will be required to take a COVID-19 test before boarding a flight and show proof of full vaccination. The state government said in a press release that “further advice about testing requirements for arrivals will be provided in the coming days”.

Asked if Mr Perrottet had consulted him about NSW’s changes, Mr Morrison said “the premier and I, and indeed prior to him becoming Premier in earlier discussions with ministers in the NSW government, this has been a topic of discussion for some time.”

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“I welcome the announcement today that is consistent with the advice I have had from my own Chief Medical Officer and we’re looking forward to those arrangements coming into place.”

Mr Morrison said NSW had confirmed 210 unvaccinated people will be allowed in each week.

“Earlier this week, I wrote to all the premiers and chief ministers and asked them to advise me of where they are up to when it came to home quarantine, which would enable Australia to move to the next phase, more broadly, that would allow Australians to travel overseas and return if they are vaccinated, and to return, to return vaccinated, with no caps on their return,” he said.

He said it won’t be open slather for everyone in the world to come to Australia and the Commonwealth would stick to its plan of allowing travel only by Australian residents and their families first.

“We are not opening up to everyone coming back to Australia at the moment. I want to be clear about that,” he said.

“In the first instance, it will be for Australian residents and their families. We will see how that goes and then we will [look] to other priorities set out as being skilled migration as well as [getting international] students to Australia and then we will move on to the challenge of dealing with international visitors to Australia.”

The federal national security committee tweaked the rules earlier this week to classify overseas parents of Australians as “immediate family”, meaning they will qualify for travel exemptions under the restrictions.

This comes after a long community campaign for the change.

The decision to classify parents overseas as immediate family has been made, but it won’t come into effect until November 1 when the other travel changes take place.



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Travel and Tourism Industries Announce Net Zero Roadmap


As part of an effort to combat climate change, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announced the launch of a Net Zero Roadmap for the travel and tourism industries.

The WTTC also revealed it would launch ground-breaking social and environmental research data to build on the organization’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) and support the travel sector’s drive towards net zero by 2050.

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Officials from the WTTC said during its virtual ‘Net Zero Travel & Tourism – From Ambition to Action’ event that the initiative is being run with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and professional services and consulting experts, Accenture.

“The launch of our Net Zero Roadmap for the Travel & Tourism sector and development of sector wide data to measure our success are major steps to show how Travel & Tourism is playing its part in addressing climate change,” WTTC CEO Julia Simpson said.

“WTTC, alongside our partners and sponsors, looks forward to offering tangible and meaningful solutions to meet the climate change challenge,” Simpson continued. “As a sector, we are aware that not all industries can achieve such goals at the same time, which is why our Net Zero Roadmap will be so critical.”

The Net Zero Roadmap will include an overview of climate actions in Travel & Tourism and action frameworks for specific industries to help accelerate climate commitments and emissions reduction.

Through the research projects, WTTC will regularly monitor and update the climate action inventory, providing continuous updates until the Travel & Tourism sector’s targets are achieved.





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WTTC develops emissions reduction roadmap


The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched the
Net Zero Roadmap for the travel and tourism sector to support its efforts to help
combat climate change.

The announcement came during the WTTC’s virtual climate week
event and coincided with the launch of social and environmental research data,
which will be produced across the entire sector and will continuously be updated
as emissions targets are achieved.

According to the WTTC, these “vital pieces of work” represent
the organisation’s biggest deliverables in the sector’s aim to achieve net-zero
emissions by 2050.

The initiative is being run in collaboration with the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and professional services and consulting
firm Accenture.

The Net Zero Roadmap will include a “status quo overview” of
climate actions taken by the travel and tourism sector, lessons learned in the
past and action frameworks for specific industries to help accelerate climate
commitments and emissions reduction.

Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, said the organisation
and its partners will launch the roadmap at the UN Climate Change Conference
(COP26) in Glasgow in November. She added: “As a sector, we are aware that not
all industries can achieve such goals at the same time, which is why our Net
Zero Roadmap will be so critical.”

The WTTC’s announcement comes as Marriott International vowed
to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
, while corporates and travel firms from
around the globe have signed a pledge to power aviation using a minimum of 10
per cent sustainable aviation fuels by 2030.



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ASTA Launches New Roadmap To Becoming a Travel Advisor Course


The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has launched a new online education course to promote careers in the travel agency industry and help new advisors.

The Roadmap to Becoming a Travel Advisor course was developed by Host Agency Reviews founder Steph Lee and includes a 240-page manual plus seven instructional videos.

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“As anyone in the industry will tell you, working as a travel advisor is a fun, rewarding and potentially lucrative career path,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA’s president and CEO. “With travel growing more complicated in a post-COVID environment and the industry’s recovery underway, now is the perfect time to look at a career as a travel advisor. Our new Roadmap to Becoming a Travel Advisor will help folks get started down this path toward a true dream job.”

“We applaud ASTA for its work in putting together the Roadmap to Becoming a Travel Advisor course, which provides a foundational knowledge base to those wanting to enter the industry and will augment host agencies’ efforts to grow their networks as the travel industry is ready to bounce back,” said Anita Pagliasso, vice president of industry relations at KHM Travel Group and president, Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH). “Agencies of all business models need new blood and are preparing to bring on new advisors in the coming months, so this initiative is perfectly timed.”

Topics covered in the manual include:

—An in-depth overview of the travel industry and its constituent parts.

—How travel advisors make money.

—Tips for finding a job or starting your own business.

ASTA is working with industry partners to integrate its new Roadmap into pre-existing programs as an extension to their offerings.

Currently, ASTA is offering the new course at 50 percent off the base rate of $299.

Click here to learn more.





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