The Prime Minister announced new restrictions at a late night press conference on Tuesday. The announcements came as the number of confirmed cases in Australia passed 2,000.

NO YOU CAN’T

  • Australians now banned from travelling overseas, with exemption for special circumstances
  • food courts closed (can serve take aways)
  • social sport
  • swimming pools
  • galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, libraries, community centres, nonessential facilities, community facilities such as halls and PCYCs, all closed
  • auction houses, real estate auctions and open house inspections
  • community and recreation centres, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre, spin facilities, saunas, wellness centres, indoor boot camps
  • amusement parks and arcades
  • indoor and outdoor play centres
  • in-store beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlours, spa and massage parlours (excluding health-related services, like physiotherapy)

YES YOU CAN

  • go out for a walk
  • go to work, unless you are able to work from home (recommended)
  • go to a shopping centre for essential shopping
  • shop at markets (regulated by states and territories)
  • weddings limited to 5 people
  • outdoor gatherings like funerals, boot camps, limited to 10 people
  • hairdressers & barbers ok (max 30 minutes)

Scott Morrison also said the advice on schools had not changed and it was safe to send children to school. On schools staying open, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said “older teachers with chronic diseases shouldn’t be in school (but) there is no evidence of major transmission among children.”

The PM advised people not to go out and “participate more broadly in the community, unless you’re shopping for basics or there are medical needs or you’re providing care and support to an individual at another place.”

He said people should stay at home unless they needed to access essential services.

He made an apology for the lack of access to Centrelink services due to high demand. “Tonight, they are working to boost it (capacity) again. I would say to Australians, ‘yes, we are terribly sorry’ but at the same time, we are asking Australians, even in these most difficult of circumstances to be patient. Everyone is doing their best. No resource is being spared to ensure we can get these systems in place.” Opening hours for call centres have been extended.

Robert Mallett, CEO of Hair & Beauty Tasmania, said it was a ‘bright note’ that many businesses could continue albeit with some very strict guidelines.  “Appointments are to be limited to 30 minutes which will place a significant strain on some enterprises but at least they are able to operate,” he said. “Previously announced personal spacing rules still apply and it is very evident that salons are doing just that with large spaces between chairs and stations.”

Schools

The schools issue continues to generate much debate. The Greens and Labor both continued their pressure in Tasmania for the government to shut them down.

“The disconnect and mixed messages from government imposing strict physical distancing measures and not closing schools is creating confusion within the community,” said Greens’ Health spokesperson Rosalie Woodruff.

The epidemiologist said there is strong health evidence that children can pass the virus to other people. “Allowing students to mingle in the school environment runs against medical advice that aims to contain this disease.”

The Premier has stressed the importance of parents keeping a tight rein on children who are being kept home from school, as parents can elect to do. The government, however, maintains that schools, where a large number of children are kept in close proximity, are not considered significant transmission problems.

This is a different approach from that taken by Victoria, the ACT and New Zealand where schools are shut. In NSW, they are open on a limited basis for parents to choose that option.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said every day the government delays the closure decision lives are being put at risk.

“The Government also needs to remember that it’s not just children in those classrooms but it is teachers and support staff too,” White said.

“There are still three weeks left of the term and every day schools remain open the government is putting lives at risk and sending mixed messages to the community. We are being told to live our lives 1.5 metres apart, but our children’s crowded school classrooms and playgrounds are somehow an exception.”

“For the sake of all Tasmanians, it’s time for the mixed messages to stop. Everyone should stay at home unless they are required to deliver an essential service – and that includes our school children.