Active SA virus cases fall to near zero

Premier Steven Marshall says indoor dining will be allowed in South Australia next month.
Premier Steven Marshall says indoor dining will be allowed in South Australia next month.

South Australian pubs and restaurants may be allowed to host more patrons from June as the state draws close to having no active coronavirus cases.

SA Health reported no new infections on Monday with the state's total remaining on 439.

Only one of those is still considered active.

With indoor dining to be allowed from June 8, Premier Steven Marshall has suggested cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs may be allowed to go beyond the stage two limits to ensure the viability of the hospitality sector.

Under details announced so far venues will be allowed to serve alcohol and host up to 20 people at a time, provided social distancing provisions are maintained.

But the hotel industry believes that still might not cut it for many businesses and Mr Marshall told reporters on Monday a higher number was being considered.

"We're sitting down with the industry to work out how we might go even more than that when they open because we want to get them back to being viable," the premier said.

However, some limit would still be imposed to avoid the need to reimpose fresh restrictions in the future.

"The industry tells us that the last thing that they need is to reopen for business only to have to shut down a few weeks later," Mr Marshall said.

"We've seen this happen in other places around the world where they've gone too early only to have to clamp down.

"That would be disastrous for small business in South Australia."

Mr Marshall said the government was working with the hotel industry to return venues to viability as quickly as possible.

"But we've got to do it in a safe way," he said.

"There will definitely be limits. We've got to take this incrementally. We can't go from zero to 2000.

"We've made it really clear we are going to take this at our own pace."

Under stage one, a range of restrictions were lifted on Monday, with all country accommodation allowed to open, including caravan parks, hotels, motels and Airbnb services.

Alcohol-free outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants and the resumption of outdoor sports training was also permitted, all with a 10-person limit.

Universities and TAFE colleges were free to resume face-to-face learning, public swimming pools, places of worship and libraries could reopen, and house inspections and home auctions were allowed.

SA Health said the total number of virus tests conducted had topped 70,000 as locals were urged to continue to follow social distancing measures and good hygiene.

Australian Associated Press