The Tasmanian Government is standing by its decision to keep borders closed despite mounting pressure from the state's struggling tourism industry and Labor.
As Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews halted plans to ease restrictions in his state because of a rise in coronavirus cases, Small Business Minister Sarah Courtney said the safety of Tasmanians continued to be the government's main priority despite rising rates of joblessness.
"The worst thing that could happen for these small businesses is to have a second wave of coronavirus come to Tasmania and to have these businesses shut down once again," Ms Courtney said.
"We're taking the approach that's right for Tasmania, we do have a more vulnerable community and we know how deadly coronavirus can be.
According to Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin, the COVID-19 crisis was under control, but the borders needed to be opened to help the almost 20,000 Tasmanians who lost their jobs in the past two months.
Labor leader Rebecca White called on the government to follow the lead of states like Western Australia and South Australia, which have suppressed the spread of COVID-19.
"South Australia have lifted their borders to other states that they feel confident they can have trade with and have visitors come from because they don't have any other cases," Ms White said.
"We should at least be looking to do that and provide a date for when that can occur so that businesses can make decisions about the staff they need to put on and the supplies they need to put in place.
"Now's the time to start to reopen our economy to support people back into work, to support businesses to start to trade again and the Premier needs to respond to that. He can't continue down this rigid path he's currently on without listening to what he's hearing from industries that are telling him they are slowly dying."
Ms White said the government should change the one person per four square metres rule to allow one person per two square metres, like was the case in Western Australia.
"This would increase increase the number of people they can have in their establishment and help get people back into work," she said.
"In Tasmania we've got the situation where our borders are shut and yet we've got the harshest restrictions on how our businesses can operate," Ms White said.
"The reality is that we need to be lifting our border restrictions across the domestic Australian tourism market to provide opportunities for people to come here again and the Premier needs to set a date for that, rather than sit on the fence and delay making a decision."
Ms Courtney said Premier Peter Gutwein planned to make an announcement about borders on Friday.
"We take our advice from the health experts; the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee are considering a number of matters and we'll continue to take advice from them," Ms Courtney said.
When asked if the government was cherry-picking what health advice it accepted and rejected because the AHPCC never recommended border closures, Ms Courtney said the state controller and Public Health director provided advice about border closures.
"We have made decisions that are in the best interests of Tasmanians," she said.