Weddings with five people, funerals with ten, boot camp in the park and 30 minutes with your hairdresser. The PM announced further restrictions for Australians tonight and left the nation slightly confused.
Describing 2020 as the toughest year yet for Aussies, Morrison said the government understood the impact restrictions are having on the nation’s citizens. He pledged the government will do all it can to support people through the crisis but further restrictions were coming.
The PM suggested it is vital Australians used their “commonsense” to defeat the spread of the virus.
“Our goal is to get through this together. By following commonsense rules, and doing the right thing. That’s how we slow the spread of this virus and that’s how we save lives. It also means that when we all do that, that we can potentially limit further economic harm from other measures.”
From midnight Wednesday Australians will be banned from travelling internationally in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Further to this, the PM announced additional restrictions to ensure citizens maintained social distancing.
The following premises will need to close their doors from midnight Wednesday:
- Amusement parks and arcades
- Indoor and outdoor play centres
- Community and recreation centres, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga centres, spin facilities, saunas, and wellness centres.
These venues are in addition to those announced on Sunday, which included
- Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gambling venues, adult entertainment venues, concert venues, and stadiums.
In addition to this, the PM announced galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, libraries, community centres, nonessential facilities, community facilities such as halls and PCYCs would also be required to close.
Food courts in shopping centres will now be shut down too, although takeaway service can still be provided. Real Estate agents will no longer be able to conduct open houses and auction rooms are set to close. Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlours will also be required to close. Personal trainers have been allowed to continue to ply their wares as long as there are no more than ten people in a group and social distancing laws are abided by. While Hairdressers and barbers can continue to operate but must limit visits to 30 minutes.
Brides-to-be have also been dealt another blow with the PM announcing weddings will now be limited to five people in attendance including the celebrant. While funerals can only have ten people attend.
The Twittersphere erupted following the announcement with posts calling out the PM’s confused messages.
Hey so um the backpackers near my place appears to be holding the equivalent of three funerals or six weddings every night, the PM might wanna get onto that.
— Peter Taggart (@petertaggart) March 24, 2020
Boot camps are limited to 10 people
But weddings are limited to 5
So hypothetically, if you ask your guests to do a few star jumps, you can have 10 people at your wedding?
Funerals are limited to 10 people
But schools of hundreds, go for it.
That doesn’t sound conflicting… https://t.co/j4XXh8GRxQ
— Amy Thunig (@AmyThunig) March 24, 2020
‘No more children’s birthday parties’
‘It is safe to send your children to school’
‘It is good that less children are going to to school’
‘Only essential workers should go to work’
‘Everyone is an essential worker’
— John Weber (@JohnVWeber94) March 24, 2020
You can read the PM’s full statement below
“I said in the Parliament that 2020, for most Australians, was going to be their toughest year. And what we have seen unfold just this week has been demonstrating just that,” Mr Morrison said.
“Australians who have lost their jobs, lost hours of work, businesses that have been forced to close their business — these are heartbreaking events in our nation’s history and story.
“And I want to assure all Australians the National Cabinet has been meeting, and state governments also, and we’ve considered the many, many difficult issues we’re having to address. We are not unconscious of the real impacts that these measures are having on the daily lives of Australians and so we will continue to do everything we can, both as a federal government and as state and territory governments around the country, to do all we can to support our people through what is going to be an incredibly difficult time.
“The queues that we saw outside Centrelink, the challenges and frustrations people have had in gaining access is a sheer function of the extraordinary and overwhelming demand, and we will work night and day to ensure that we can get more capacity into these systems. But what this reflects is the size of the need and the size of that need is demonstrated by the impacts of what the coronavirus and the many things that governments are having to do to limit its health impacts across the country and to ensure that we can protect the lives of Australians.
“But our goal is to get through this together and by following common sense rules, and doing the right thing, that’s how we slow the spread of this virus and that’s how we save lives.
“It also means that when we all do that, that we can potentially limit further economic harm from other measures. Not all states, I want to stress, are in the same position. Some states, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, are far more advanced on the progression of this virus than other states and territories. But tonight, despite the variations that do exist, there is a strong will for states and territories to seek to move together wherever they possibly can to ensure a consistency of application of the various rules and arrangements that we are putting in place across the country.
“Tonight, we agreed to extend the restrictions that were announced on Sunday night, but to do so in a manner that was consistent with the types of measures that we announced on Sunday night. What I mean by that is there was an initial list of activities that largely went to the issues of social gatherings, particularly in enclosed spaces, that was being done to restrict the amount of contact between people outside activities such as going to work and things of that nature. And so tonight, we worked to complete that list of those types of activities that we believe are appropriate at this time to slow the spread of the virus to ensure that we are covering all the necessary activities and business functions inside premises that should be considered at this time.
“And so, from midnight tomorrow night, all of these following activities, and they include some I have already announced from earlier, will no longer be taking place. Cafes, I have already said, but for takeaway, that will continue. So, no change to the issues around cafes. Food courts and shopping centres will not be allowed to continue. But getting takeaway from those food outlets in those shopping centres, that can continue because take away is able to be done.
“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, because that is essential to ensure 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, but the point and the principle is very clear — large gatherings brought together by particular organised events are things we have seeking to avoid. And that is the principle the states and territories will be seeking to follow.
“In terms of personal services, where there is a lot of contact obviously between those providing that service in a premise, and the patrons, the following now won’t be able to continue: Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlours and same for spa and massage parlours. 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 metres per person. And on top of that, to restrict the amount of time a patron is in the premise to no more than 30 minutes. And preferably less.
“Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gaming or gambling venues, all of those were included in the announcement on Sunday, as were adult entertainment venues, concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums, they are all included in what we said on Sunday evening.
“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 — I hope I pronounced that correctly, I might need some help with that, I’m not quite sure what that is to be honest — but B-A-R-R-E, for those looking for the specific definition, and 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, swimming pools. Now, I’ll come back to the social and sporting-based activities in a second to explain what we mean by that. That’s large groups of people gathering together to play soccer in a community oval and things of that nature. You can see what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to limit the gathering of people in large numbers that can relate to the transmitting of the virus through those social interactions which are not considered necessary.
“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, RSLs, PCYCs. Many of those were already included in what I said on Sunday night and of course, places of worship. In places of worship and other similar type venues there has been a very difficult decision we’ve had to make tonight in relation to weddings and in relation to funerals.
“Now, 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 meeting rule has to be observed within the venue in which that is taking place. But, large gatherings for weddings, sadly, won’t be possible under these new arrangements. And sadly, also, and I know this will be very difficult, funerals to no more than 10 persons observing the rules around the four square metre rule and the social-distancing practices. Particularly on these types of activities this is not an easy decision. Where we have already found, and Dr Murphy can speak to this, some of the events that have been some of the major transmitting events, it has been exactly these types of events, particularly weddings. And that is why, regretfully, we have to be able to put these arrangements in place. Now, these are the rules and arrangements that are applied when it comes to the strict enforcement of these arrangements and that will come in from midnight tomorrow night and states and territories will be moving tomorrow to put those arrangements in place.
“Now, there are some also very important further rules that we want people to follow, just like the 1.5-metre rule. Just like washing your hands and coughing into your elbow. And doing those straight-forward things.
“That is, to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary that you go out.
“Going out for the basics, going out for exercise, perhaps with your partner or family members, provided it’s a small group, that’s fine. But going outside and going out and participating more broadly in the community unless you’re shopping for basics or there are medical needs or you’re providing care or support to another individual at another place. Going to work and where you cannot work from home. That is encouraged. Strongly encouraged to work from home where you can do that.