Food courts are closed, but the restaurants inside are open. You shouldn’t leave the house unless it’s necessary, but retail stores are still doing business. Your little nephew’s birthday bash is forbidden, but school is still in session.
And you can have five people at your wedding, but ten at your outdoor boot camp.
That’s some of the latest advice from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who last night used a press conference to announce an expansion of lockdown measures to combat the Australian outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
In case you missed it: as of midnight tonight, food courts around Australia will close, with the restaurants inside still permitted to serve takeaway. Beauty salons will close, but hairdressers will remain open, with strict 30-minute-per-customer time limits.
Auction houses, amusement parks, open house inspections, arcades, play centres, libraries, museums and community facilities like RSLs will all shut their doors. Stunningly, weddings are now capped at five people: that’s the folks tying the knot, the celebrant, and two witnesses.
Funerals will be limited to ten people.
While the announcement intended to clarify which aspects of Australian life should be postponed as we fight the pandemic, many viewers were left confused by the tidal wave of new advice.
In one stunning exchange, a journo asked Morrison why, for example, personal trainers will be permitted to conduct outdoor classes with more people than a wedding. The PM said it was simple advice, designed to keep people in a job.
“What we are talking about is people, up to ten, for training, that is a business, that is someone’s livelihood and you are saying that I should turn their livelihood off,” Morrison said.
“I’m not going to do that lightly.”
It was just one peculiar aspect of a sprawling press conference, but viewers and reporters immediately found a loophole: if you can have that many people at an outdoor sweat session, what’s to stop you from getting hitched at the same time?
Soooo… if weddings are limited to 5 people but boot camp is limited to 10… can you get married while you exercise in the park?
— Natalie Yoannidis (@NatYoannidis) March 24, 2020
A boot-camp themed wedding should do the trick. https://t.co/JKZG87qfO2
— Kate McClymont (@Kate_McClymont) March 24, 2020
If I marry my (non-existent) personal trainer in an outdoor boot camp themed ceremony, how many people can I have at my wedding? Does the groom count as a guest? Asking for a friend. ????
— Elise Worthington (@elisereports) March 24, 2020
WHAT ABOUT BOOT CAMP WEDDINGS
— captain pirate monkey with an airship (@jonkudelka) March 24, 2020
If you have a wedding at a boot camp can you have 5, 10 or 15 people?
— Craig Reucassel (@craigreucassel) March 24, 2020
I’m getting married. In a shopping center. Then having the reception at a boot camp. Recovery party at the hairdresser. #COVID19Aus
— Caro Meldrum-Hanna (@caromeldrum) March 24, 2020
so you can only have five people at your wedding but ten at your boot camp? looks like we all getting married in yoga pants bitches
— Babes dont threaten me!ghan with a good time (@babyouremyqueen) March 24, 2020
Boot Camp v Wedding
A man and his fiancé, the celebrant, the best man, maid of honour, both sets of parents and the wedding singer can do a boot camp on the morning of the wedding…but only half of them can actually go to the wedding #COVID19Aus #COVIDー19 #auspol
— Tim Gleason (@timmyg23) March 24, 2020
While those suggestions are pretty obvious piss-takes (we hope), they do suggest flaws in the Federal Government’s messaging on which activities are necessary and which are not as we clamp down on community infections.
As it stands, tens of thousands of Australians have already lost their jobs because of earlier industry shutdowns and the dramatic downturn in trade caused by fears of the virus.
More crackdowns are expected. It’s a devastating and difficult time for everyone in Australia, as Morrison said last night.
But if doing burpees in a white gown turns you from a vector for infection to an Australian hero supporting a local business, some clearer guidelines might be beneficial.
Image: Maskot / Getty Images
Listening to the PM like everyone here in Aust & what I understood was.
“It’s essential. Unless it’s not. Then it’s essentially not essential. I can’t be clearer” Plus people can buy a new shirt at a shopping centre ? WTF? PM just had a shocker. Surely should be in lockdown now
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) March 24, 2020