How COVID-19 restrictions are easing in your area
It’s been a tough few months for Australian businesses, and the SME community has had to come to terms with some very challenging COVID-19 lockdowns. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. We explain how restrictions are being eased at a Federal level – and how the rules apply to your state/territory as at May 2020. We’ll update the details as the situation changes.
Easing of restrictions at a national level
In May 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a number of relaxations in COVID-19 restrictions, with a 3-phase plan to help get the economy moving.
While this is how the game plan stands at a national level, it’s important to note that state/territory governments have the discretion to make their own decisions around COVID-19 easing.
A 3-stage plan
Under the Federal plan, restrictions will be eased through three different stages.
- Stage 1: Re-opening restaurants, cafes, and shops. Five visitors allowed at home, and 10 in businesses and public spaces. People are still encouraged to work from home, and some interstate recreational travel will re-start.
- Stage 2: ‘Most’ businesses will re-open with physical distancing and hygiene. Larger gatherings of up to 20 people allowed at venues such as cinemas and galleries. More retail openings on sector-based COVID- safe plans.
- Stage 3 – likely by July 2020: All Australians return to work with physical distancing and hygiene measures in place. Gatherings of up to 100 people allowed, all interstate travel will resume. Food courts, pubs and clubs will open (with some restrictions). A resumption of trans-Tasman, Pacific Island and international student travel may be allowed.
How is your state/territory re-opening after COVID-19?
Some states have fared better than others during the Coronavirus pandemic, so it stands to reason that each state/territory is able to find its own, appropriate level of easing. Here’s what the situation looks like as of today in your part of Australia:
From 15 May 2020:
- Some beauty therapy business will be opened including nail salons, with a maximum of 10 people at a time
- 10 people are allowed to dine in at restaurants and cafes (dining in pubs and cafes in outback areas, where there are no cases, is limited to 20 people)
- Recreational travel up to 150km from home for day trips is permitted
- Weddings can have 10 guests. Funerals can have 20 guests indoors, 30 outdoors
- Open homes and auctions will be allowed with up to 10 people.
From 13 June 2020:
- Community sport to resume.
If all goes well, the next stages will increase travel distances allowed and open more businesses from mid-June in time for the school holidays.
New South Wales
From 15 May 2020:
- Shopping and retail premises are open to the public
- Food and drink premises can open, but only to seat a maximum of 10 customers at any one time, this includes cafes and restaurants, a restaurant within a registered club or pub, or a cellar door that serves food
- For businesses that can open, each owner can make decisions about what makes the most sense for their situation
- Employees must be able to work from home where it is reasonably practical to do so.
From 1 June 2020:
- Regional travel with family and friends permitted within NSW can resume, with no person limits.
- Pubs, cafes, clubs and restaurants able to seat 50 patrons at once with four metres square of overall space per person. All patrons will need to be seated and individual bookings cannot be larger than 10 people.
- Art galleries, libraries and museums are permitted to open, with special rules around health and safety.
- Beauty and nail salons can begin treatments under strict COVID-safe guidelines. Safety plans will include measures such as one person per 4 meters including both staff and clients, up to a maximum of 10 clients at any one time, records of attendance, cleaning requirements and removal of magazines.
From 15 May 2020:
- Cafes and restaurants including pubs and clubs offering seated in-house dining, are allowed to seat up to 10 patrons at one time if they can follow physical distancing
- Auction-houses can proceed with a maximum of 10 people
- Hairdressers and barbers are obliged to seek and record customer details.
From 30 May 2020:
- Gatherings of up to 20 people allowed
- Gyms permitted to re-open.
From 13 May 2020:
- Gatherings of up to 10 outdoors and 5 visitors in homes allowed. Victorians have been asked to limit their circle to just family and friends
- Weddings can have up to 10 guests and 20 people can attend funerals indoors, 30 people outdoors. Walking groups, fishing, hiking and golf are allowed subject to physical distancing
- A renewed State of Emergency is in place until midnight 31 May.
From 1 June 2020:
- Gatherings of 20 people in a home and overnight stays at private residences and tourist accommodations allowed
- Beauty salons, spas and tattoo parlours allowed to open for up to 20 people
- Restaurants and cafes can resume dine-in service with up to 20 patrons per enclosed space.
From 22 June 2020, assuming relaxed measures have been successful to date the following has been proposed:
- Restaurants and cafes permitted 50 patrons per enclosed space (potentially increasing to 100 patrons during the second half of July)
- Gyms and indoor cinemas to re-open.
From 18 May 2020:
- Gatherings increased to 10 people for indoor and outdoor areas, with physical distancing of 1.5 metres and a maximum of one person per 4 square metres applicable
- Restaurants and cafes in all settings (including restaurants in pubs, clubs, hotels and RSLs) open for table service for up to 10 patrons at a time.
- Border controls remain in place. Domestic travelling Tasmanian residents can quarantine in their primary residence if it is suitable
From 25 May 2020:
- Kindergarten to Year 6 students return to classrooms, as well as Year 11 and 12 students at extension schools and colleges.
From 15 June 2020:
- People limitations rise to 20 people at a time for indoor and outdoor venues, including restaurants/cafes, cinemas, museums, galleries, and theatres.
- Beauty services (including tattoo, nails, waxing, facials and tanning) will be available for up to 20 people.
From 11 May 2020:
- There are no restrictions on travel within SA though any non-essential travel within the state is discouraged
- Outdoor dining is available for restaurants and cafes, up to a maximum of 10 people
- Property auctions and open inspections will be available from Monday for up to 10 persons.
From 22 May 2020:
- Restaurants able to seat up to 20 patrons; 10 indoor and 10 outdoor.
From 5 June 2020:
- Pubs and clubs permitted to serve alcohol without a meal.
More relief set to be announced on 5 June to be effective 8 June – this has been touted to include re-opening of cinemas and theatres, along with seated dining, beauty, nails, tattoo, massage, and gyms and indoor fitness. Watch this space!
Businesses across Western Australia need to comply with conditions outlined in the COVID Safety Guidelines and prepare a COVID Safety Plan before they re-open, to protect staff and customers.
From 18 May 2020:
- Cafes and restaurants can provide meal service, including within pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and casinos, for up to 20 patrons
- Western Australians are encouraged to return to work, unless they are unwell or vulnerable.
- Regional travel restrictions are relaxed with travel allowed:
- between South West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Perth-Peel regions
- between Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions
- within Goldfields-Esperance region
- within Kimberley Local Government areas
- Travel exemptions are still required to enter WA.
Businesses must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan to show how requirements will be met around physical distancing and hygiene practices.
Activities and venues able to open since 15 May 2020 include:
- Shopping centre food courts
- Restaurants, cafes, and bars for the consumption of food — excluding gaming areas, with no more than 10 customers at a table
- Organised outdoor training activities for sport teams without physical contact
- Beauty therapy salons for non-facial services such as nails, massage and tanning
- Personal services businesses should limit the time a customer remains at the business to 2 hours per visit.
From 5 June 2020:
- Plans to move into third and final stage of lifting restrictions.
- State travel restrictions lifted, however interstate borders remain closed.
Need more information?
Head to Australia.gov.au and click on the link for your state/territory.
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