National cabinet announces three-step plan to ease out of COVID-19 restrictions

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday May 8, 2020

Scott Morrison. AAP Image/Getty Pool, Sam Mooy

Australians will soon be able to gather in groups, and some small businesses will reopen, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday.

Following the national cabinet’s latest meeting, Morrison said coronavirus restrictions across the country would be relaxed over three phases:

  1. The first step would see a return to gatherings of up to 10 people outdoors, and up to five people in homes. Children would return to classrooms, and some recreational activities would resume, such as golf. Retail businesses, and small cafes and restaurants may reopen, but they must seat a maximum of 10 people at a time. Funerals would be allowed to have up to 30 attendees outdoors, but a maximum of 10 for weddings. Work from home if possible. Local travel would be permitted.
  2. Gatherings would increase to up to 20 people, including for venues such as cinemas. More retail stores would open up, as well as beauty and tattoo parlours, and gyms. Organised community sport would resume, as well as some interstate travel. Camping grounds and caravan parks may also reopen.
  3. Up to 100 people would be allowed to gather. More specifics would be announced in the future.

Morrison and chief medical officer Brendan Murphy asserted that details surrounding the final steps would be based on the success of the first phase.

“But most workers, by then, will be back in the workplace. Interstate travel will likely resume. Pubs and clubs with some restrictions will be open. And also possibly gaming venues. As I said, steps three, step three, but also step two, will get greater definition as we move through the success of step one,” Morrison said.

The PM said national cabinet plans for the three steps to be complete by July, but the state and territory governments would announce their own plans regarding the three steps in the coming days and weeks.

He said treasury modelling expected the steps to restore roughly 850,000 jobs.

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