Coronavirus restrictions are easing across Australia, but don’t expect to be shaking hands any time soon.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the more people who stick to physical distancing and good hand hygiene, the sooner other parts of the economy will reopen. Handshakes and other forms of physical contact remain off the agenda.
“At this stage I couldn’t see that changing for the rest of this year to be honest,” Mr Morrison says.
“It’s those simple things – the social distancing, the bumping elbows, the washing hands, the downloading the COVIDSafe app.
“They’re the simple things you can do that actually protect us probably more than anything.”
His message comes as restrictions ease in Queensland. We are now able to travel statewide, while pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes are allowed to seat up to 20 people.
The state brought forward the next easing of restrictions by almost two weeks after zero new cases were announced for the third straight day on Sunday.
The changes include 20 spectators being allowed to attend community sporting fields.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the government is working with the hospitality industry to further open their businesses by next Friday to have 20 people per designated area, providing it meets the one person per four square metre restrictions.
However, all patrons must be seated, staff can work only in an assigned area and only table service will be permitted.
Mr Morrison warns against complacency as society gradually returns to normal.
“The coronavirus hasn’t gone anywhere,” Mr Morrison says. “It’s still out there. We’ve just been very successful at getting over the top of it.
“But it can come back pretty quick and we’ve got to be sure we don’t get this further wave, and the way we don’t do that is people practising all those simple things that have been put in place.”
Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth says lifting restrictions is a balancing act between economic benefit and health risks.
“We’re taking a deliberately safe and cautious approach,” he says.
“Most importantly we’re taking the time to gather the data over the coming weeks to determine whether it’s safe to move to the next round of lifting restrictions.” -AAP
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Coronavirus restrictions are slowly being eased across Australia, with states and territories at different stages. Earlier this week, the Queensland Government fast-tracked the easing of restrictions, which include:
- A limit of 20 people at home visits, non-contact indoor and outdoor community sport, personal training, gyms, indoor and outdoor pools, museums and galleries, historic sites, weddings, parks, playgrounds, libraries, places of worship, cinemas, open homes, auctions and beauty salons.
- Up to 20 people allowed in restaurants, pubs and clubs. As of June 5, these venues can have 20 people in each section of their business. For example, if a club has multiple restaurants, they can serve 20 in each as long as no more than one person is seated per four square metres.
- Recreational travel is now allowed across the state.
- Up to 50 funeral attendees allowed.
- Borders remain closed.
The public health rules include:
- Physical distancing – keeping a 1.5-metre distance from people who don’t live in your home.
- Four square metres per person when indoors.
- Hand hygiene.
- Respiratory hygiene.
- Frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection.