re-opening of Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison along with his Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, announced a three-step plan to re-opening of Australia after the COVID-19 lockdowns. Although Scott Morrison hoped the final phase – step three could be achieved in July, but it would really be up to each state and territory when they moved to ease restrictions from complete lockdown to stage 3.

Here is a snapshot of how each stage will look like:

Step One

Step one will see us connecting with more friends and family, and see businesses, educational campuses and sporting facilities start to reopen.

Australians should continue to work from home if it is suitable for them and their employer. In addition to that, the government wants all businesses to develop a Covid-safe plan to prepare for staff returning to the workplace.

A number of businesses will reopen their doors. Those include retail stores, and auctions and open homes can operate subject to meeting the limit of up to 10 people and observing social distancing rules. Cafes and restaurants can seat up to 10 patrons at a time, as long as they follow the four square metres per person rule.

Hairdressers and barber shops have been allowed to open, provided they keep records of customers’ contact details, should it be required for contact tracing.

Remaining Closed:
Food courts, gyms, indoor movie theatres, stadiums, galleries, museums, zoos, pubs, clubs, gaming venues, strip clubs and brothels, beauty therapy and massage therapy venues, saunas and tattoo parlours.

Under the new restrictions on gatherings Australia will now allow for:

  • Non-work gatherings of up to 10 people in public
  • Up to five visitors to your home
  • Up to 10 guests at a wedding, in addition to the couple and the celebrant
  • Up to 20 mourners allowed at a funeral if indoors, and 30 if outdoors
  • Religious gatherings with up to 10 attendees

We will see children back in classrooms and in playgrounds in their communities, and universities and technical colleges increasing face-to-face teaching where possible and where states make allowance for that.

Although indoor gyms stay closed, but up to 10 people at a time will be able to:

  • use community centres, outdoor gyms, playgrounds, and skate parks
  • take part in outdoor organised sport, like golf and boot camps.

Queensland has announced it will move to stage 1 on 15 May, and Tasmania will do so on 18 May, subject to public health advice. Victoria has announced to go to Stage 1 from Midnight on Tuesday 12 May. Other states have yet to specify the date.

Step two

Step two re-opening looks almost identical to step one, with double the number of people allowed to gather in most circumstances.

Larger non-work gatherings of up to 20 people will start to take place. States and territories may increase gathering sizes including number of home visitors at their discretion.

Auctions, open homes, cafes, and restaurants will continue to operate, this time with up to 20 people. Weddings and religious gatherings may have up to 20 attendees, and funerals up to 50 mourners.

Beauty therapy and massage therapy venues, and tattoo parlours will be allowed to open up to 20 clients at time, again as long as they record all contact details, and up to 20 people will be allowed to take part in all outdoor sports.

Pools will open, with restrictions. Cinemas, galleries, stadiums, and zoos will be allowed to have up to 20 patrons, but

Pubs, clubs, casinos and night clubs will continue to remain closed.

Step three

Prime Minister Morrison said that step three would “become clearer as we move through the first two steps”.

Step 3 should see final re-opening thus life returning somewhat close to normal, with non-work gatherings of up to 100 people allowed, and even larger considered.

Up to 100 people
Restaurants, cafes, foodcourts, auctions and open houses, movie theatres and other entertainment facilities, weddings and funerals will all be allowed to host up to 100 people. They must still follow the rule of four square metres per person indoors.

In this phase, pubs, clubs, and possibly gaming venues will be allowed to reopen.

Prime Minister Morrison said by this time he hopes “most workers … will be back in the workplace.”

Interstate travel:
Step 3 should see the interstate travel resuming to flow freely but the Prime Minister emphasised it will be up to the states and territories.

The government will also consider re-opening of cross-Tasman, Pacific Island and international student travel in this final phase of the life getting back to normalcy.

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