Raising The Barre: ScoMo's Three-Step Plan To Get Australia Off Slow Mo
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a three-step plan to get Australia back to "where we need to be as quickly as possible", with hopes most restrictions will be lifted by July.
Following a national cabinet meeting via teleconference with state and territory leaders on Friday, the PM outlined the plan to move Australia out of the coronavirus crisis with the easing of restrictions, but warned there will undoubtedly be outbreaks.
"There will be risks, there will be challenges, there will be outbreaks, there will be more cases, there will be setbacks," he said.
"Not everything will go to plan."
Morrison said the three-step plan would also help ensure around 850,000 jobs could be restored in the months ahead.
The three stages, which will be reviewed every three weeks, are part of national guidelines to ease restrictions, but ultimately the decision to implement the plan lies with each state and territory leader.
The process will include the gradual reopening of restaurants, bars, sporting venues, and the resumption of social activities, with the number of people allowed to gather in one place increased at each stage.
Morrison said step one would be focused on "greater connection with friends and family" and include allowing gatherings of up to 10 people and five guests in people's homes.
Working from home will remain an option for people in stage one, where possible, and children will return to classrooms and playgrounds.
Some small cafes and restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to reopen, as well as golf courses, swimming pools, boot camps, libraries, and community centres including outdoor gyms and skateparks.
Outdoor sport of up to 10 people would also be allowed.
Cafes and restaurants which open up may only seat up to 10 people at a time and patrons would need to maintain the four square metre distancing measures.
Local and regional recreational travel will also be allowed, however state and territory governments would still be allowed to determine border restrictions.
Morrison said restrictions on funerals would also be lifted, with up to 30 mourners allowed to attend outdoors and 10 guests allowed to attend weddings.
Step two will allow larger size gatherings of up to 20 people inside homes, businesses, cafes, restaurants and public places, however some states and territories may allow larger numbers in some circumstances.
Australians will also be able to continue working from home where possible.
Gyms, beauty, cinemas, galleries, zoos and amusement parks will also be allowed to reopen, as well as caravan and camping grounds, but each will only be allowed to have up to 20 patrons at any one time.
"And you'll be please to know, barre classed open once again," Morrison joked.
Couples may have up to 20 guests at their wedding from this stage, while funerals may have up to 50 mourners.
Religious gatherings may have up to 20 attendees.
Some interstate travel may also be allowed by stage two depending on the situation in each state and territory, the government announced.
The Prime Minister said it was hoped Australia would be in 'step three' by July, but the details of this stage would continue to be developed as the country moves through the previous two stages.
Under the final stage, gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed at homes cafes, restaurants, food courts and sporting venues, with most workers expected to be back in the workplace by that time.
Nightclubs, food courts, and saunas will also be allowed to start operating.
It's hoped all interstate travel will resume by stage three, while cross-Tasman travel, pacific-island travel, and international student travel would also be considered.
"Step three, but also step two, will get greater definition as we move through the success of step one," the Prime Minister told reporters on Friday.
"It's our aspiration, as agreed among premiers and chief ministers, in July, we would have moved through these three steps through the country. "
"The pace, though, will totally be up to the states and territories. They'll be responsible for setting their own timetable and communicating that to their citizens and residents."
Businesses such as hair and beauty services, massage and tattoo parlours would also be required to record the contact details of patrons during all three stages.
Chief Health Officer, Brendan Murphy said despite Australia being in a good position, there was still need to be cautious -- noting the Cedar Meats outbreak in Victoria and the Newmarch Aged Care outbreak in NSW as recent spikes.
"This is what we expect to see and what we'll continue to see and that's not such a concern if we're getting on top and managing these outbreaks as we have in those two cases," Murphy told reporters.
"But the virus is still there, it's still in our community. That's why, despite our very good position, we've got to be very caution and wary with our next steps."
More than 730,000 tests had been done across the country with just under 6,900 confirmed cases.
Murphy said with two-thirds of the nation's cases coming from returning travellers, the government and health authorities would not be looking to lift border restrictions any time soon.
"We're going to continue to quarantine all returning travellers because this virus is certainly in a much worse position in many other countries from which our citizens are returning."
He also urged Australians to keep getting tested if they are unwell, saying "we don't want to lose the control we've got."
"No matter how mild your cold or your cough, stay home when you're unwell, and please get a COVID test," Murphy said.
"No more heroics of coming to work with a cough and a cold and a sore throat. That's off the agenda for every Australian for the foreseeable future. Please."
Morrison said Australians should be encouraged by the progress being made.
"We are successfully making our way through this difficult battle on two fronts and we're certainly doing it better than many and most around the world today," he said.
"Firstly, we've been fighting the virus and we are winning."
"Secondly, we have put in place and are delivering the economic lifeline through JobKeeper and JobSeeker and many other programs to get us through the worst of this, to buy Australians time as we fight the virus and we chart our way back."
"Thirdly, and particularly today, we move ahead with reopening our economy. And our society, with a clear plan, and a clear framework, that shows Australians the road ahead."
Last week, Morrison praised Australians for their social distancing efforts and earmarked Friday's meeting to relax restrictions.
"Australians have earned an early mark," he told reporters at Parliament House.
While the Prime Minister's announcement allows for restrictions to be eased, the decision to change rules ultimately lies with each state and territory leader.
Leaders can also reinstate stricter rules if there is a cluster outbreak.
Contact the author: email@example.com