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Masks are gone from pubs and shops, smiles are back, says Premier

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Masks will no longer be needed after 6pm on March 4 at venues across the State, Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk has announced.

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In making the long-awaited declaration scrapping Covid-19 restrictions, Palasczcuk said “smiles are back” and masks can be shelved.

It comes as a further five people, one in aged care, lost their lives to Covid-19 in the past 24 hours and the State recorded 5358 new cases of the virus.

Palaszczuk, speaking in Parliament, said that from 6pm on March 4 the requirement to wear masks in the vast majority of circumstances would be scrapped.

“You won’t need them at work or at school or at the shops,” Palaszczuk said.

They will also not be required at cafes, pubs and restaurants.

“Smiles are back, we can put our masks away,” she said.

The only places where masks will still be needed will be on public transport, at airports, hospitals and in disability and aged care, prisons and other vulnerable places.

Density limits at wedding and funerals, food courts, hairdressers, gymnasiums and other venues will also be scrapped as will bans on school assemblies and functions.

“This is all about getting our lives back to a new normal,” Palaszczuk said.

“The story of this pandemic is not yet over but we hope a brighter chapter awaits.”

Palaszczuk said the pandemic narrative would show that whilst no-one escaped Covid-19, some places had fared better than others.

Queensland was one such place.

“The reason is clear. The vast majority of our State was vaccinated before Covid arrived,” Palaszczuk said.

Queensland avoided the months of lockdowns that southern states endured.

“When Covid came to Queensland, 80 per cent of Queenslanders were vaccinated.”

And Palaszczuk said the data showed the decision to delay the return to school by two weeks, to allow the Omicron wave to pass, was the right one.

Hospitalisation rates have now stabilised and the thousands in hospitals which had been anticipated during the Omicron wave had not eventuated.

As of Tuesday, 90.61 per cent of Queenslanders were fully vaccinated and 92.54 per cent had received one dose of the vaccine.

In addition, 63.11 per cent had now received a booster shot but only 42.11 per cent of children, aged five to 11 years, were vaccinated.

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