An early Sunday start couldn’t wipe the smiles off mask-free faces at an East Perth gym this morning.
Key points:The requirement to wear masks in public in Perth and Peel expired at 12:01amRestrictions on the number of patrons in hospitality venues also easedSome business operators say the two-week long restrictions had a “huge impact”
At 12.01am, Perth and Peel returned to pre-lockdown conditions, following a full 14-day period with no signs of community transmission of COVID-19.
F45 Training franchise owner Fiona Stephens said staff and members had been quick to adapt to mask-wearing, but were happy to say goodbye to even sweatier workouts for the time being.
“Everyone’s so happy to have [the masks] off,” she said.
“There were lots of social media posts yesterday celebrating the last masked workout, and I’m sure this morning will be all about the first mask-free workout.
“It was something we all had to do, so we got in and got it done, but there’s no question everyone’s happy to see the last of it.”
Perth residents have been required to wear masks for the past fortnight.(ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)
Residents in Perth and Peel have been required to wear masks in public since January 31, when a snap five-day lockdown was imposed after a hotel security guard tested positive for coronavirus.
But with no further cases of community transmission identified, the State Government confirmed on Friday that mask-wearing and other restrictions would lift on Sunday as planned.
Masks were compulsory in public places until 12:01am on Sunday.(ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)’We’re so excited’: Pubs reopen
As soon as the doors opened at the Camfield pub, people were ready to celebrate.
Three Pound Group sales and marketing manager Ebony Lane said staff were excited to get back to normal trading conditions.
Ebony Lane says the snap lockdown and restrictions had a “huge impact” on business.(ABC News: Jessica Warriner)
“It was a huge impact for us — our usual capacity is 2,500, so to go down to 150 is a big, big change,” Ms Lane said.
“[Lifting the numbers back up] is so relieving, especially being Valentine’s Day… we’re so excited to fill up the beer garden, fill up inside and have people celebrating.”
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Ms Lane said she was thrilled to be able to keep all the Valentine’s Day reservations across her company’s venues, and have people share food and drink without worrying about masks.
In the venue, punters were relieved to be mask-free but said they would pop them back on without hesitation if they needed to.
Christina Douglas said it was good to spend time with her mum without barriers.
“We purposely booked today so we wouldn’t have to wear masks, it’s been nice,” she said.
Melanie [right] and daughter Christina Douglas celebrate a mask-free trip to the Camfield.(ABC News: Jessica Warriner)
Melanie Douglas said it was great to be out and about with fewer restrictions.
“Then again, if we have to go back to wearing masks for health reasons, I’ll do it again,” she said.
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As people strolled the Matagarup Bridge on the first day without compulsory masks, they shared Ms Douglas’ thoughts.
“Having [the mask] off is really good, but I’m also grateful we live in a country where we’ve got access to that PPE gear, and we’ve all been able to be safe,” said Tia Snader.
Marlene Mayhew said the change was fantastic.
“I had to wear [a mask] at work for the whole two weeks, so I was really glad when it came off,” she said.
“I just think we’re the luckiest state.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan said more than 102,000 COVID-19 tests had been administered since January 31.
He encouraged West Australians to take advantage of eased restrictions to support small business after a tough fortnight.
“I hope everyone is now able to enjoy not wearing masks and getting back to normality,” Mr McGowan said.
“What we’d like to see is as many people out there supporting local businesses as possible — support your local retailers, your local coffee shops, bars and pubs, restaurants.
“The more we can unleash that pent-up spending in local businesses, the better.”
WA recorded no new cases of coronavirus overnight.
Five active cases in hotel quarantine are being monitored.
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