A National Cabinet meeting today Friday could signal the lifting of some virus measures, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirming in a live interview with news.com.au’s political editor Samantha Maiden on Wednesday that we’re moving towards an easing of the rules.
“Well, I don’t want to prejudge any of those decisions that the premiers will make on Friday. And of course, every one of the states is in charge of what happens in their own states, ultimately,” the PM said.
“But already there have been quite a few changes we’ve seen to date.”
While 7 News has reported Mr Morrison will give the green light to gatherings of up to 10 people in the family home in time for May 10, each state and territory has its own lockdown laws, and some premiers have already indicated they won’t be budging on their rules.
With that in mind, here’s what you can and can’t do this weekend – before you go making any plans with Mum – depending on your state or territory.
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As the state continues to record very low infection numbers, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced household groups of five people can pay a visit to another home from this Sunday.
“I think this is going to be welcomed by families, especially on Mother’s Day,” the Premier said on Thursday morning.
“Because Queensland has been doing such a great job, from Sunday, we will be allowing up to five members (of one household) to visit (another) household right across Queensland.”
And the new rules aren’t just restricted to families – if you live with four friends, you’ll also be allowed to visit another house from May 10 as long as everyone keeps a 1.5m distance from one another.
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young also gave family members permission to travel more than 50km from home to visit their families this Sunday – as long as they simply go to their family and return home, not detouring into the community or to shopping centres.
The new allowances come a week after the State Government granted Queenslanders from the same household permission to leave home for a picnic or to shop for “non-essential” goods; as well as reopening national parks and allowing recreational drives within 50km of home.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Premier Gladys Berejiklian poured cold water on hopes of social distancing restrictions being eased by Sunday, regardless of the Prime Minister’s decisions today.
“Without wanting to be the bearer of bad news, whilst National Cabinet is considering easing some restrictions from Friday in terms of the national guidelines, I doubt that NSW will be in a position to implement anything before Mother’s Day,” she told reporters this morning.
However, the Premier pointed out two adults and their dependant children can now visit another household at any time around NSW.
“Please know that two adults and children can visit any mother at any one time and a mother can accept multiple visits a day so long as there is not too many people for each visit,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“That’s a huge step forward from what would have happened a month ago. To all mothers out there, please know that you will be able to accept those visitors.”
Ms Berejiklian also pointed out that unlike Queensland or Western Australia, there is no limit on travel distances in NSW, meaning people in Sydney could make essential visits to regional areas.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews won’t be budging on the state’s tight lockdown measures, telling reporters on Thursday morning he had “no announcements” about easing restrictions before at least May 11, when the state of emergency expires.
“I can tell you what I will be doing on Mother’s Day – I will not be visiting my mum,” he said.
“Everyone wants to be with their mum, but let’s be really cautious, let’s be really careful not to be spreading the virus. We’ve come a long way and we can’t give that all back. We just can’t. It is deeply frustrating, I know that, but it is working.”
Mr Andrews urged Victorians who were considering ignoring social distancing this weekend to think again.
Social visits around the state are still banned, but delivering of food, providing medical care or visiting for “compassionate reasons” is allowed.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
The Australian Capital Territory continues to report very low numbers of COVID-19 infections, with Chief Minister Andrew Barr hinting some restrictions could be eased soon.
“Smaller family gatherings and smaller gatherings outdoors … are relatively low-risk in an environment where there are no active cases in the ACT for a two-week period,” Mr Barr said, the ABC reports.
So gathering in the park this Sunday is fine – but maybe don’t have the entire family over for a meal.
The Northern Territory is the first jurisdiction in Australia well on its way to coming out the other side of COVID-19, with a number of laws pulled back and more to be eased on May 15.
Northern Territorians are allowed to gather with as many as 10 people, as long as they keep a distance of 1.5m.
Visiting parks and camping, outdoor gatherings, non-contact outdoor sports and exercising and training outdoors are all allowed again.
“Territorians will have the opportunity to safely spend this weekend camping, swimming or walking through our beautiful parks and reserves and enjoying the Territory lifestyle that we all love,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said last week when announcing the two-stage lifting of restrictions.
So you can head to the park this Sunday with your mum – and from May 15, when pubs and restaurants will begin to reopen, maybe even take her out for a belated Mother’s Day meal.
Western Australia has now reached the one-week mark with no new cases, with Health Minister Roger Cook saying the absence of new infections highlighted the state’s strong position.
However, he reminded Western Australians to continue to maintain social distancing measures, especially during this weekend’s Mother’s Day celebrations.
“Please be in your mother’s company, let her know you love her, but don’t be in her embrace,” he said.
“We don’t want anyone, particularly those in our vulnerable communities, to be under more difficulties this year.”
Under the state’s measures, which were relaxed by Premier Mark McGowan last week, the two-person limit on non-work activities has been increased to 10, providing people adhere to social distancing and good hygiene.
Picnics, boating, hiking, camping and group exercise are also now allowed.
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While South Australia are yet to announce a relaxation of restrictions – despite their low infection rate – their existing ones are more in line with WA’s now “relaxed” version.
Under current laws, it’s possible to gather with as many as 10 people as long as you keep a distance of 1.5m, and chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier has given her blessing for families to gather this Sunday.
“I don’t think people are going to have any problems this weekend working out what is going to be best for them and their loved ones,” Prof Spurrier said.
Premier Peter Gutwein said he’ll be outlining Tasmania’s road map out of restrictions after the National Cabinet meeting, but stressed that tougher rules around aged care visits will not change until Monday after which the state “will transition to the national approach”.
“I know that, for many people, with Mother’s Day coming up, that that is a difficult issue, but … the best present that you can provide for your mother is to keep her safe. We have an older and more vulnerable population, and the last thing that we want is to take the virus to them,” the Premier told reporters.
While Tasmania is currently operating under two separate sets of lockdown measures – one for the majority of the population, and stricter rules for the state’s northwest where a virus outbreak recently occurred – there is a social support allowing people to visit loved ones two-at-a-time provided everyone is healthy and social distancing rules are adhered to.