On Tuesday 24 March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a press conference to make further announcements following the National Cabinet’s meeting.
Beginning by speaking on the difficulties Australians have faced thus far in 2020 and what more is to come.
“We are not unconscious of the impact our decision are having on Australians,” Morrison said.
Morrison promised that they will work day and night to establish more capacity into the systems that provide relief, like Centrelink, which has seen lines and lines of people, waiting to be input into the system.
Following this, the Prime Minister has announced a range of new bans.
From midnight Wednesday night, all of the following activities and places will no longer be operating:
Venues & Activities
- Cafes & cafes in food courts in shopping centres can’t continue operating unless they offer takeaway only.
- In the retail space, auction houses, gatherings together in auction rooms, that can no longer continue.
- Real estate auctions and open house inspections – in particular, open house inspections – that cannot continue.
- Outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets like Flemington and things like that, because that is essential to ensuring the food supply right across the country, they will be addressed specifically by states and territories in each of their jurisdictions. States and territories have very different arrangements in terms of the types of markets they have, and they’ll be making those decisions specific to their states and territories.
- Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlours and spa and massage parlours cannot continue. That excludes health-related services in those areas, physiotherapists, things of that nature, health-related and allied health services.
- Hairdressers and barber shops will continue to be able to provide those services but it is very important that they strictly manage the social distancing and limitations of the number of people in their premise. So that’s four square meters per person. And on top of that, to restrict the amount of time a patron is in the premises to no more than 30 minutes and preferably less.
- Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gaming or gambling venues, all of these were included in the announcement on Sunday, as were adult entertainment venues, concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums.
- Amusement parks and arcades are now included.
- Play centres, both indoor and outdoor are also now included.
- Community and recreation centres, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre are included. Also spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses, wellness centres.
- Boot camps and personal training is limited to a maximum of 10 people and the social distancing arrangements must be strictly enforced.
- Social sporting based activities (large groups of people gathering together to play soccer at a community oval and things of that nature), swimming pools.
- Galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, libraries, community centres, youth centres, local government, non-essential facilities, libraries and swimming pools, community facilities such as community halls, clubs, RSLs, PCYCs
Weddings & Funerals
- Weddings can continue to be conducted where it is just the couple, the celebrant and the witnesses. That’s no more than five people. And the four square metre rule has to be observed within the venue in which that’s taking place. But large gatherings for weddings, sadly, won’t be possible under these new arrangements.
- Funerals to have no more than 10 persons attending, and they must observe the guidelines around the four square metre rule and social distancing practices.
Stay Home Unless Absolutely Necessary
The public are encouraged to stay at home unless absolutely necessary, and to go out for exercise with a partner or family members.
The public are also strongly encouraged to work from home where they can do that. Visits to your house should be kept to a minimum and with very small numbers of guests.
“Barbecues of lots of friends or even family, extended family coming together to celebrate one year old birthday parties and all these sorts of things, we can’t do those things now.” said Morrison.
He continued “We’ve all been to those events as extended families and gatherings and gathering together in that way, even around the large family table in the family home when all the siblings get together and bring the kids, these are not things we can do, now. All of these things present risks and they obviously present them to the elderly members of our families as well, who we need to protect.”
On the topic of house parties, the States and Territories will be looking at this as to whether specific measures are put in place to make this an offence.
The message is that you should only be going outside of your home for essential things.
On the highly contentious topic of schools, which the Prime Minister admits is an important discussion, the medical expert advice has not changed, which indicates that the Government expect schools to remain open when possible.
However, a meeting with the Australian Education Union tomorrow will discuss a new plan that the government would like to proceed with.
Schools staying open are to ensure children get taught.
Furthermore, workers needing children to stay at school is another factor that plays a big part in schools remaining open. Staff are working to extend distance learning as we go into the term break. Schools will need to reopen on the other side of the break.
“Every worker in our economy right now is essential,” he says.
Total Travel Ban
The National Security Committee Taskforce also met this evening, there was previously a ‘do not travel’ warning on Smart Traveller, this is now a ban.
With those changes, and more to deal with, the National Cabinet are to meet again tomorrow evening, with further measures down the track.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Murphy, also spoke on the matter, emphasising once more the serious nature surrounding return travellers and urging them to go home from the airport and to stay there for fourteen days.
“If you’re identified as a contact of a case and you’re told to isolate for fourteen days, you must isolate,” he says.
“We do have some community transmissions that have appeared in small pockets.”
More to come.
- Zero new COVID-19 cases found in SAThere are no active cases in SA and 462 people have been cleared of COVID-19. There have been four reported deaths from COVID-19. More than 445,000 tests have been undertaken.
- No new COVID-19 cases for SAThere are no active cases in SA and 462 people have been cleared of COVID-19.
- No new cases of COVID-19 found in SAThere are no active cases in SA and 462 people have been cleared of COVID-19.
- SA reaches one week with no new COVID-19 casesThere are no active cases in SA and 462 people have been cleared of COVID-19.
- SA border with NSW to open as early as next weekSouth Australia’s border with New South Wales may lift next Tuesday, or next Friday.