Life has changed, and fast. Rules and regulations are constantly evolving and it can be difficult to navigate various websites to keep up with the latest information. We’ve compiled some of the more important advice into one easy-to-read guide.
WHAT IS SOCIAL DISTANCING?
Firstly, it means keeping a physical distance between yourself and others, and secondly, it applies to the tough restrictions in place to stop people gathering in groups.
HOW CLOSE CAN I GET TO OTHERS?
The medical advice is you should keep 1.5 metres away from other people. No more handshakes, hugging or air kisses. But Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy has conceded families or people who live in the same house can hardly avoid being in such close proximity.
WHAT ABOUT TOUCHING THINGS?
Research shows the virus can last a long time – up to three days in some cases – on surfaces after sick people have touched them. The main thing you should be doing is washing your hands frequently with soap or an alcohol-based sanitiser, and paying for things using tap-and-go contact-less methods.
WHY SHOULD I STAY AT HOME?
To avoid other people as much as possible and thus avoid spreading or contracting the virus. Governments have put in place increasingly tighter restrictions on social gatherings. People aged over 70, those over 60 with pre-existing conditions, and indigenous people over 50 with pre-existing conditions should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.
CAN I MEET PEOPLE OUTSIDE?
Gatherings are restricted to two people, indoors and out (unless they are members of the same household). So you can catch up with one friend to walk or run through a park, but you should still keep 1.5 metres between you. If you work out with a personal trainer, that person is counted as one of the two. When members of the same household are exercising together, they can not have any additional company.
WHAT ABOUT FAMILY?
The Queensland Government has supported the restrictions of gatherings of more than two people – a rule which applies in both private and public. However, the rule does exempt members of the same household. This means that if a household has four family members, two people from outside that home are permitted to visit, but only if they aren’t deemed as ‘strangers’. Speaking about the rule last week, premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the change to the rule intended to help families who don’t live in the same home stay connected.
WHAT’S OFF LIMITS?
- Cafes, restaurants, fast-food outlets, food courts. However, takeaway service and home delivery remains open. Social distancing, including keeping 1.5 metres between people must be accommodated, implemented and monitored by employees or contractors of the retail food service provider. Gathering for the purposes of ordering or collecting must not exceed one person per four square metres.
- Auctions and open-house inspections
- Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlours. Hairdressers and barber shops remain operational with strict rules.
- Registered and licensed clubs, cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, theme parks, arcades, play centres. Bottle shops remain open.
- Sporting-based activities, including boot camps and personal training, are limited to two people including the trainer.
- Swimming pools including public pools and pools in shared facilities such as hotels and apartments. A pool located in a private home can be used by occupants only.
- Public playgrounds, public barbecues, skate parks, BMX tracks and outside gyms, including static exercise equipment in council parks.
- All national parks, along with hiking tracks, picnic areas, camping areas, swimming holes and lookouts.
- Recreational boat ramps and pontoons – closed to non-essential users. Essential users include non-powered craft for exercise, powered craft for transport and fishing for food for your family. The two-person limit or immediate family rules still apply.
- Caravan and camping parks for recreation and campgrounds.
- Zoos, galleries, museums, national and state institutions and historic sites.
- Libraries, community centres and youth centres.
IS THIS THE LAW NOW?
Queensland has issued legal directions requiring people to stay home unless they have to leave for one of the acceptable reasons. The maximum penalty for individuals not following the health directive is 100 penalty units, or $1,334.50.
SO, WHERE CAN I GO?
Queenslanders are permitted to leave home for the essentials, including:
- shopping for food,
- exercising – in a public space such as a park, limited to no more than two people,
- going out for medical appointments or to the pharmacy,
- providing care or support to another person in a place other than your home, such as buying groceries for an elderly relative or neighbour,
- going to work if you cannot work from home.
ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS?
Some exceptions are allowed, such as funerals – although only 10 mourners are allowed – and visiting terminally ill relatives. There are also exemptions for split families who have shared custody arrangements, so children can continue to visit or stay with both parents.
*Information current at time of publication.