Public Gatherings Limited To Two People To Stop Coronavirus Spread
Australians will be banned from meeting in groups of more than two, as the government orders even tighter coronavirus rules in the face of case numbers continuing to grow.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a Sunday evening press conference that even further restrictions will be levelled on groups, with gatherings limited to two people in public. That drops from the previously-announced 10-person limit.
Public playgrounds and skate parks will be closed from tomorrow, and boot camps will be limited to two people -- a personal trainer and the client.
Morrison said the two-person limit did not apply to people in the same household, only to people from different households -- giving the example that people from one home or family could spend time together.
He said this limit could be enforced by "very significant on-the-spot fines", and said people "must stay at home" unless shopping for essentials, for medical care, to exercise outdoors with adherence to the two-person limit, or for work and education reasons if they can't do so from home.
He also announced that the national cabinet had recommended "strong advice" that people over 70 should stay home at all times and self-isolate. Morrison said this was "not a compulsion" but urged older Australians to follow that advice "to the maximum extent practicable."
Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy backed up the PM's advice.
"We need to all stay home unless we're going out to shop, to do personal exercise, to go to medical appointments, or to go to work or study if you cannot work from home," he said.
"Anyone who doesn't need to be out of their home should be in the home. This is radical and the vast majority of Australians have done the right thing, we've seen huge evidence of that."
Morrison also announced on Sunday that states and territories had agreed to put a moratorium on rental evictions for the next six months, as unemployment spikes and hundreds of thousands of people turn to welfare.
"Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions are encouraged to sit down together to find a way through to ensure that businesses can survive and be there on the other side," Morrison said in a statement following the press conference.
This could include tenants and landlords being encouraged to come to agreement "on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease", reduction or waiver of rental payments, and giving tenants an ability to terminate leases on the grounds of financial distress.
Morrison also implored citizens to download a new Australian government coronavirus app, and to join a Whatsapp group announced earlier in the day.