In the last week, we’ve had some great news in a Covid19 world. As a result of us flattening the curve and managing the pandemic well, restrictions are being lifted. The federal government has mapped out a 3 phase plan that included restaurants and cafes reopening and 5 visitors allowed in your home during phase 1, gyms, beauty salons, cinemas and galleries opening and up to to 20 people in your home or public spaces in phase 2, and in phase 3, gatherings of up to 100 people permitted, nightclubs opened and interstate travel back on the agenda. These are guidelines suggested by the federal government but it comes down to individual states and territories to actually lift restrictions according to their needs. Normal life is a while off (the new normal) but we are being permitted to do more of the things we used to love and take for granted which is great for our wellbeing as well as local businesses. So what does that mean for us? Here we take a look at what you can do in your state as of next week.
As many of you know, NSW had some of the toughest restrictions in the country when it comes to Covid19 with a short list of reasonable excuses to leave the house. However, the tough restrictions are lifting as of the 15th of May. As of tomorrow, 5 visitors are allowed in your house (party time!), 10 guests are allowed at weddings, 20 people for indoor funerals and 30 for outdoors, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed, playgrounds are opened and outdoor gym equipment can be used and cafes and restaurants can open to seating 10 patrons a time with 4 square metre spacing in places. Still no bars or pubs sadly. And local or regional travel is still not permitted. For those of you with kids, schools return full time on the 25th of May. Restrictions are tough but some relief is in sight. Being able to go to a cafe and restaurant with friends or a date will be a huge boost to morale. As with having friends over.
Like NSW, Victoria had some of the toughest restrictions in the country with a huge surge in cases, resulting in the Premier declaring a state of emergency on 16th of March which has been extended to 31st of May. There were only 4 reasons a Victorian could leave the house; food and supplies, exercise, medical care and work/education. Despite the state of emergency still being in place, Victorians can now visit friends and family with a maximum of 5 guests per household. Woohoo! I know my Victorian friends have been going stir crazy, especially the ones living on their own. In addition, 10 people can gather together in public places and you can play sport with up to 10 people. The same rules for weddings and funerals in NSW apply for Victoria but it is still recommended that you work from home if possible. Restaurants and cafes are still only open for takeaway but it is hoped that will open up in June, hopefully with a greater capacity of 10 people. Again, bars and pubs are not opening any time soon. Local and regional travel is not on the agenda and you cannot spend a night away from your home unless it is at your partner’s. One positive for us shoppers, shops are open providing social distancing is in play. This is great news for us cooped at home who are sick of splurging on online purchases (I may have made some Tiger King inspired iso choices). This isn’t an invitation for a day of leisurely window shopping at Chadstone, down Chapel street or Brunswick street. The government says to do it only if necessary. To be honest, I could probably justify anything fabulous as essential, but fortunately for me, my absolute favourite shop is selling online through instagram so I’ll be staying home (Thanks Shag Melbourne! Check them out if you like vintage and unique, fun pieces).
For lucky Queenslanders, restrictions were starting to be lifted prior to the federal government’s announcement. They were allowed to travel up to 50kms for recreation and up to 5 people from one household were allowed to visit another household for Mother’s day. Schools had started to go back, albeit staggered but as of tomorrow, 15th of May, a whole heap of restrictions are being lifted. You can gather in public places like cafes, restaurants, parks, libraries and beauty salons (very jealous of this as I’m in desperate need of a wax!). Pools will reopen and the same rules for weddings and funerals for NSW and Victoria will apply. In addition, you can now travel up to 150kms for recreation. Schools will be going back on 25th May with further restrictions being lifted on 12th June and 10th July. Border closures are still in place but are hoped to be lifted soon. The Premier indicated this would depend on how other states are coping.
WA took a hard stance against Covid19 with a hard border in place. Overall the restrictions haven’t been as severe at NSW and Victoria but the state government’s firm stance has resulted in very few cases in recent weeks. Restrictions were eased at the end of April allowing up to 10 people to gather together and schools reopening. On Sunday, Premier Mark McGowan announced that restrictions would be easing on Monday 18th May. What does that mean for the West Coast? Firstly, indoor and outdoor gatherings are allowed with up to 20 people (Yay! My birthday is next weekend), restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can seat up to 20 people for those consuming a meal only (drinks are allowed with a meal) providing they are following the 4 square metre rule. Weddings and funerals can have 20 people indoors and 30 outdoors, churches, libraries and all non contact sport are open to a maximum of 20 people, same goes with fitness classes provided they don’t use shared equipment. The regional borders that were in place have now been reduced to 4 areas allowing more travel throughout the state. More restrictions are to be lifted a month after that so those visits to the nail salon will be back on the agenda. One negative, the state’s hard border may not be lifted this year which means those shopping trips to Melbourne won’t be happening.
Tasmania was the first to shut it’s borders off to the rest of the country with everyone coming to the state, requiring to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days. Due to an outbreak in the north west of the state, 5000 people were quarantined with non essential businesses all shutting and no visitors in the area. As of the 18th May, some restrictions are easing. 10 people are permitted to gather in public whilst the limit remains 5 in households. Funerals are allowed 20 people whilst weddings is 10, whilst 10 people are allowed in beauty services, restaurants and cafes whilst retail stores are allowed to open with restrictions on numbers and social distancing in place. Starting Monday 25th May, schools will stagger their opening with further restrictions expected to be lifted on 15th June. You are still limited in what you can do but any improvement is an improvement.
South Australia has had great success with fighting Covid19 with very few cases in recent weeks. Like QLD and WA, their hard border has proven to be successful, so much so that in March they implemented a limit of 10 people gatherings although it encouraged sticking to the recommended 2. All schools, unis and TAFEs are back to face to face learning which is great. As it stands, the limit of 10 people gatherings is still in place provided there is enough room to be spaced 1.5m apart, cafes and restaurants can seat up to 10 people outside, 20 people indoors and 30 people outdoors can attend a funeral, pools are reopened with a max of 10 people, weddings are capped at 10 people but regional travel is encouraged. That is a positive. You can take a break throughout the state and support local businesses whilst you are it. More restrictions are expected to be lifted on Monday 8th June so keep your eyes peeled for more info.
The ACT has had a very low number of infections. They have been cautious and as a result, been successful in limiting the spread. With this in mind, they have already lifted some restrictions. Visitors to your home at capped at 10 people with social distancing, weddings can have 10 guests whilst 20 indoor and 30 outdoor for funeral, bootcamps outdoors are allowed with a max of 10 people whilst cafes and restaurants are open for takeaway. However, as of Saturday 16th May, they can open with 10 seated guests. Playgrounds and dog parks can open as well as some national parks. On Monday 18th May, schools will stagger their opening. There has been no further word on when any other restrictions will be lifted.
The Northern Territory has been the luckiest in Australia in terms of Covid19 with the fewest cases out of all the states and territories. With this in mind, they relaxed their restrictions early with no limit of guests in your home, for weddings and funerals, providing they are social distancing. Playgrounds, parks, pools and shops are all open however pubs, cafes and restaurants are only open for takeaway. However, as of tomorrow 15th May, restaurants, clubs, bars, beauty services, masseuses, libraries, museums and outdoor sports are able to resume with a 2 hour limit and strict social distancing. The end is in sight for the Northern Territory as of the 5th June with that 2 hour limit removed and other entertainment facilities such as cinemas, theatres and nightclubs will reopen. I think I know where I want to be! Party in the NT!
With time, we can expect to see restrictions ease throughout the country. We may not be returning pre-Covid19 times anytime soon with international travel and large events unlikely to happen for a while, but if we all do our bit by practicing social distancing and good hygiene, we can start doing the things we love, sooner rather than later.