Western Australians are just a week away from a significant easing of coronavirus restrictions with the government moving on measures it says will return life and vitality to the state.

From May 18, locals will be encouraged to get back to work and the limit on group gatherings will be doubled to 20 people.

Cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs will be allowed to serve meals for up to 20 patrons with the same number of people to be permitted at indoor weddings and funerals.

Outdoor and indoor sports training and non-contact competition will now be available for groups of up to 20 with the same restrictions to apply to churches and other places of worship.

Regional travel restrictions will also be eased but the state’s hard border with the rest of the country will remain in force for the foreseeable future and may not be lifted this year.

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Premier Mark McGowan says the changes will help get the state’s economy moving.

“We’ve picked things that create the most jobs, the most life, the most vitality and get the most people back to work in the safest way we possibly can,” he said.

Opposition Leader Liza Harvey has welcomed the measures but says the government must detail a more comprehensive plan to grow jobs.

“This health crisis is now a jobs crisis,” she said.

Phase three of WA’s recovery is expected to be introduced around mid-June and include a further increase in the size of most gatherings, the return of community contact sport along with the reopening of galleries, museums and cinemas and the resumption of beauty therapy services.

On Sunday, WA reported no new virus infections, leaving the state with 552 and only seven active cases.

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Four people remain in hospital with one of those in intensive care.

AAP

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