Australia Shuts Down: What will Close? What will Stay Open

Australia is shutting down non-essential services as coronavirus cases rise rapidly in the country. From midday today, Australia has become a vastly different place to live as pubs, clubs, restaurants, cinemas and indoor sporting venues across the country shut down indefinitely.

March 23, 2020: On Sunday evening Scott Morrison listed the places he said would need to close from midday today as part of the government’s emergency response.

WHAT WILL CLOSE:

  • Registered and licenced clubs

  • Licenced premises in hotels and pubs

  • Restaurants will only be able to provide a takeaway service

  • Places of worship

  • Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos and other forms of indoor entertainment

  • Funerals will have to follow an 'enforced' four-metre rule


WHAT WILL STAY OPEN:

  • Supermarkets

  • Shopping centres

  • Bottle shops

  • Hairdressers and beauticians

  • Schools


There are differences in how each state and territory in Australia is managing schools.

  • NSW: Schools remain open but it is up to parents to decide whether to send children to school, and parents have been advised to keep children home unless they need to work.

  • Queensland: Schools remain open but it is up to parents to decide whether to send children to school.

  • Victoria: Schools closed from the end of Monday for school holidays. Due to return on 13 April.

  • ACT: Closed from tomorrow.

  • Tasmania: Schools remain open but up to parents to decide whether to send children.

  • NT: Schools to remain open but optional for parents to send children.

  • SA: Schools remain open but premier Steven Marshall recognises parents will take children out of school, allowing for increased social distancing.

  • WA: Schools remain open but laws relaxed so it’s not compulsory.

  • All states and territories are working towards re-opening in term 2, depending on how the situation changes over the next few weeks.


More CORONAVIRUS NEWS

During a late evening press conference Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison laid out what he said were new rules for society when dealing with social distancing due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The prime minister said the failure of the public to observe the rules “will put people at risk and make it extremely difficult for governments to be able to take actions that can control the flow and spread of this virus.”


March 23, 2020 UPDATE: Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)


The prime minister said the failure of the public to observe the rules “will put people at risk and make it extremely difficult for governments to be able to take actions that can control the flow and spread of this virus.”


He said the government’s hand had been forced by scenes over the weekend of people crammed on to beaches in Sydney.

“Governments must do their bit … we need Australians to do their bit,” he said. “On the weekend, what we saw was a disregard of those social distancing practices. As people turned up to the beach in large numbers, crammed venues in our major cities“. This sent a very clear message to premiers, chief ministers and me, that the social distancing practices are not being observed as well as they should be.”

On schools, Morrison said the clear medical advice is that schools should remain open. He said he does not want children to miss a school year. Victoria and NSW would re-open schools after the imminent school holiday period, he said, so long as the medical advice allowed it. Schools would move toward online learning but remain open for students who needed it, he said.

Morrison said this was only staged one of the social distancing measures. If Australians fail to adhere to the rules, more draconian measures will be introduced. Stage two has not yet been defined or discussed.


Shopping centres are not being closed, he said, and there is no reason to hoard. Bottle shops are also remaining open. Home deliveries and takeaway food businesses will also continue to operate.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR BUSINESSES?


Meanwhile, many businesses have taken matters into their own hands, with some restaurants shutting down indefinitely. A number are operating on a takeaway and delivery basis only.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy had a stern message for those Australians ignoring urgent warnings about social distancing.


“If Australia is going to get through the challenge of this pandemic over the coming months, we have to live differently. We’ve been making that point very clear over the last week. But it’s clear that some people haven’t got it. I’m particularly talking to young people who may think they’re immune to the effects of this virus. It’s true, most young people don’t get the significant disease. But as a young person, you don’t want to be responsible for the severe and possibly fatal disease of an elder, vulnerable Australian. We have to stop the rapid spread of this virus.”

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