Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled the “three step” plan that will see most of Australia return to some semblance of normal life by July.
A short time ago Morrison front a press conference following a series of National Cabinet meetings this week, revealing the processes that will be rolled out over the coming months that will see large tracts of Australians return to their workplaces by July, including in pubs and clubs.
While the implementation of the various stages is a state issue, and any timelines will be controlled by state leaders and Premiers, the Federal framework released today details a bare-bones roadmap for Australia to return to business as mostly usual.
Morrison expressed a caution-first approach to the framework, asserting that the Government is anticipating setbacks, and that not everything will go according to plan.
“In this plan, we walk before we run. We know we need to be careful to preserve our gains, if we wish to reclaim the ground we lost, we cannot be too timid. There will be risks. There will be challenges. There will be outbreaks, there will be more cases, there will be set-backs. Not everything will go to plan,” the PM said.
The short version of each step of the plan is as follows:
Step one of the rollback will involve a gentle, measured approach to lockdown repeal, stipulating that 5 people will be allowed to gather indoors, while groups of 10 people will be allowed to gather outside. That includes in businesses and public places. As part of that, restaurants, cafes, and various retail shopping facilities will be allowed to re-open.
Additionally, local and regional travel is being encouraged under step one, although that stops short of permitting interstate travel.
Larger gatherings of up to 20 people will be permitted in homes, businesses, outside, and so on. Gyms, beauty parlours and salons, cinemas, galleries, and amusement parks will be permitted to open at this stage – although in the case of the latter it seems strange to think of any amusement park that will be happy with a capacity cap of 20. But that’s neither here nor there.
In addition to that, caravan and camping grounds will start to reopen, and some interstate travel will be permitted, pending the border policies of the various states and territories.
Finally, step three is the most relaxed stage of the rollbacks, and will be the point where as many as 100 people will be permitted to gather in a business or outdoor space. It’s at this point that pubs, nightclubs, food courts and the like will be allowed to re-open. That point could be reached as early as July this year.
Under step three, all interstate travel – including domestic air travel – will be permitted, and the Government will begin to consider international travel for a Trans-Tasman bubble, as well as for various Pacific Islands and international students.
It’s important to note that this Federal framework has no set timeline; that will be set by the various states. In addition, punitive measures such as police enforcement is still expected to be a large part of the framework, with fines applying throughout the process to any individual or business found flouting the regulations.
However, this is a big step towards regaining some semblance of normalcy, and it’s a massive indication that Australia is across the hump, so to speak, and that we’re now closer to the end than we are to the beginning.Image: AAP