Some Aussies Banned From Visiting Friends, Partners Under Two-Person Rules
Some Australians are now banned from visiting friends and partners at their homes and rule-breakers have been warned they face big fines for ignoring the guidelines.
Police have powers to arrest or fine people more than $1,000 for breaching the new two-person limit and tighter social gathering restrictions, announced by Scott Morrison on Sunday.
However, some people have raised concerns about their circumstances, such as visiting friends or family, and how the rules work for people living in sharehouses.
What 'Stay Home' Means
The advice is that people must stay at home as much as possible, and only leave to shop, go to school or work, for medical care or to exercise.
"We have a simple message today -- stay at home," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said, flagging that people should not leave their homes if in doubt as police could issue a $1600 fine if they're found to be breaching the rules.
"We cannot have people out socialising and gathering as if this wasn't happening... If you are gathering in more than two people, if you are having friends over for dinner or friends over for drinks that are not members of your household, then you are breaking the law."
What are the new rules?
"National Cabinet agreed to limit both indoor and outdoor gatherings to two persons only," Morrison said on Sunday.
The only exceptions to this rule are people in the same family or household (i.e. living in a sharehouse) going out together; funerals with a maximum of 10, and weddings with a maximum of five.
In NSW, the public has been told to stay home at all times unless they need to go shopping, to school or work, for medical care, or to exercise. Leaving home for literally any other reason, according to the state government, is not allowed -- including visiting friends' homes.
The strict new measures start from midnight Monday and will impact the entire country.
The NSW government directed 10 daily's questions about the new rules to this website, which outlines the state's plan to combat the virus.
"Gatherings outside or inside should not be more than two people unless it's your immediate family, and that is something that we will enforce," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Where does this apply?
Essentially, everywhere; in public, at parks, even at home.
Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said it applied to "both indoor and outdoor gatherings".
That includes supermarkets and anywhere where more than two people will be inside -- the limit applies to how many people you are personally with, as in, the people you are going shopping with.
Does the two-person limit apply to work?
The NSW government told 10 daily the limit does not apply "where the gathering is essential for work or education" -- so work is exempt.
What am I allowed to leave my house for?
Shopping for essentials, medical care or to care for someone, exercise, school or work. That's it.
The NSW government told 10 daily leaving home for reasons that are not on the list is not permitted.
"There is strong guidance to all Australians to stay home unless they absolutely need to go outside," Kelly said.
Can I visit my parents or family if we live in different houses?
For someone who does not live with their parents, the advice is currently unclear because visiting family for a social call is not on the list. 10 daily has sought clarification from the NSW government.
This doesn't include if you need to help or care for a family member (see below).
What if friends or family need medical care?
People are allowed to leave home for "medical or caring reasons".
The government's guidelines allow leaving home for "medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements". In NSW, helping relatives or friends who are elderly or need help is allowed.
Queensland's chief health officer, Jeanette Young, said people were allowed to "provide care to someone you are responsible for."
Kelly said people could consider bringing elderly relatives to live with them if they are worried.
Can I visit my friends/girlfriend/boyfriend/partner at their home?
Advice regarding visiting partners varies based on the state you're living in.
A spokesperson from the NSW government told 10 daily on Monday that residents would be banned from visiting their partners and friends at home.
However, NSW Police Commissioner Mike Fuller said on Wednesday morning visiting partners would be allowed for 'caring reasons'.
"Mental health is under care. Absolutely, under care. I think we have to look after each other, but don't take the whole family with you. Don't take your grandparents."
In Victoria, Premier Andrews said "having friends over for dinner or friends over for drinks that are not members of your household" is "breaking the law".
What about sharehouses?
People living in the same house are deemed part of the same "household", so if you live with flatmates or friends, then you can spend time with them in public and at home.
You cannot have friends visit you, as you already have two or more people in your house.
What about taxis or rideshares like Uber?
The NSW government said the two-person limit applies to cars. Therefore, you can get a taxi alone (meaning two people in the car, you and the driver) but you cannot ride with another passenger.