THE Federal Government has announced a new raft of restrictions on social and business activity in its ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.
Following a meeting of the recently formed national cabinet - which is made up of the Prime Minister and state and territory leaders - last night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the new measures.
Taking effect at midnight tonight, Wednesday March 25, the new measures mandate the closure of certain types of businesses and public institutions, restrictions on the activities of others, and a new round of limits relating to social activities.
• Businesses facing closure, or severe limitation - include:
• Beauty, nail, tattoo and massage (excluding health related) businesses - to close.
• Galleries and libraries - to close.
• Community, sporting and recreation centres and pools - to close.
• Yoga,pilates and wellness centres - to close.
• Amusement parks, arcades and indoor and outdoor play centres - to close.
• Real estate auctions and inspections - to cease.
• Hairdressers and barbers - to remain open with a 30 minute limit per client and strict social distancing.
• Boot camps and personal training sessions - limited to 10 people, total, with strict social distancing.
• Food courts in shopping centres - takeaway only.
Dozens of businesses and organisations across Numurkah district will be among hundreds of thousands across Australia to be affected by the new measures.
Equally, if not more, severe are new social restrictions which also take effect at midnight.
Weddings will be restricted to just the five people legally required to be in attendance - bride, groom, celebrant and two witnesses.
Funerals will be restricted to a total of 10 people.
Australians are also being urged to leave home only to access groceries, medical needs and exercise, or to provide care and support services or attend work - but only if it cannot be done from home.
Congregating outside in groups has been banned, and only ‘very small numbers’ of visitors are allowed in homes.
A ban on all overseas travel has also been introduced.
Schools remain a point of contention, with Victoria and ACT already having ordered their closure as of this week, and NT making attendance optional.
For now at least, schools will remain open in all other states.
STATEMENT FROM THE PREMIER
PREMIER of Victoria Daniel Andrews has released the following statement regarding stage two restrictions which come into effect as of midnight tonight:
Last night, National Cabinet took another big step. I want to tell you why and let you know what we need you to do right now.
The Prime Minister and other first ministers recognised that Victoria is currently grappling with a more imminent threat than most other states – because we have more cases.
Because of this, we agreed states and territories will soon need to take individual measures – because this is moving at a different speed in different places.
I am pleased that National Cabinet has made that decision – and tonight we’ll discuss it further.
We said there would be a Stage Two and that’s what we’re doing today. But I’ll be up front with you, there will also be a Stage Three.
We need more time to get our health system ready for what’s coming. Every country in the world that is running ahead of us would give anything to have had more time.
Last night, the Prime Minister went through the details of Stage Two restrictions on non-essential venues and activities. In Victoria, those will begin at midnight tonight.
We don’t take these actions lightly but to put it bluntly: if we don’t slow this thing down, we won’t just have people waiting in line for Centrelink – we’ll have people waiting in line for machines to help them breathe.
I know this is stressful and I know this is scary.
The measures we already have in place are difficult, and these will be harder again.
I want to reassure you that things like supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, post offices and bottle shops – and a number of other essential services – will be staying open.
But I want to be very clear: the more people ignore the rules and ignore the advice – the more this virus will continue to spread.
There is no social occasion or celebration that’s worth more than a human life.
For Victorians, that means if you can stay home, you must stay home.
We are all being asked to make sacrifices. Because if we don’t, people will die.
A full list of Stage One and Two restrictions will be available at coronavirus.vic.gov.au.
Businesses seeking advice about whether they are affected can also call the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15.