Tasmania could open border to Vic early

Ethan James
·1-min read

Tasmania is hopeful of opening its borders to Victoria earlier than planned due to the mainland state's low COVID-19 numbers.

The island state is now open to all other jurisdictions after restrictions for NSW travellers were eased on Friday.

Tasmania is slated to drop border restrictions with Victoria on December 1.

"We're hopeful, based on what appears to be an increasingly better set of numbers out of Victoria, that we may be able to bring forward our reopening date," Premier Peter Gutwein said.

He said public health would continue to monitor the situation, and a first step would be allowing Victorian arrivals to quarantine at home instead of government-run hotels.

Mr Gutwein announced the state's ban on standing drinking at bars and pubs would be lifted on November 13, but only for outdoor areas.

The number of people allowed at household gatherings will increase from 20 to 40 ahead of summer and Christmas.

The state's peak hospitality body slammed the drinking changes as tokenistic and not applicable to most venues.

"The vast majority of Tasmanian venues were built last century, without beer gardens and courtyards," Tasmanian Hospitality Association CEO Steve Olds said.

"This rule change doesn't go anywhere near relieving the strain on the industry that is threatening business viability."

Tasmania was the first jurisdiction in Australia to close its borders and has gone almost 90 days without a case.