Tourist hotspots in Western Australia’s north are ready to welcome back visitors after authorities agreed to lift coronavirus-related biosecurity restrictions.
The Commonwealth has agreed to the state government’s request to remove the restrictions for the Kimberley, Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and parts of the East Pilbara on Friday.
But while popular destinations such as Broome and Kununurra will reopen to visitors, access to 274 remote indigenous communities will remain off-limits.
There are no active cases in WA’s regional areas and no positive cases reported in remote communities.
But as of Thursday there were still 26 active cases in WA, including 20 crew members from the Al Kuwait livestock ship.
“All Western Australians are urged to be aware of the high vulnerability of remote communities and to follow the restrictions to help keep them safe,” WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said.
Broome Chamber of Commerce president Peter Taylor said the reopening of the Kimberley region was fantastic news after months of uncertainty.
“Everyone’s ready to go. We’re absolutely certain we’ll be able to salvage the season,” he told 6PR.
“We know there’s all those convoys of caravaners that have started heading north and we’re ready to welcome them as soon as they arrive.”
Opposition tourism spokeswoman Alyssa Hayden called on the government to encourage affordable flights so more people could visit the region.
A raft of COVID-19 restrictions are being eased on Saturday including raising the limit on gatherings to 100 people, with 300 allowed in venues with multiple divided spaces.
Many businesses will resume trading, including beauty parlours, cinemas and gyms, while Perth Zoo will again be open to the public after closing for the first time in its 122-year history.