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The three-step plan to reopen Australia: What you can and can’t do

We break down the lockdown restrictions as they ease, state by state.

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Man ducks bellow his daughter as he gives her a big push on a public park swing set

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed a three-step plan to ease restrictions across the nation. In it are the baby steps that will be taken in order to return back to normalcy.

These steps detail the number of people allowed to visit households, maximum outdoor gathering numbers, the venues that are permitted to reopen, whether employees can return to work or not and where people can travel.

Here's what each step looks like:

Roadmap to COVIDSafe Australia

Step 1

  • 5 visitors at home, 10 in business and public places – this is regardless of age, so you can't have 5 adults and 5 children visiting a home
  • You can have 10 people in a business or public place
  • Work from home if it works for you and your employer
  • Restaurants, cafes, shopping, home sales and auctions may reopen
  • Libraries, community centres, playgrounds and outdoor bootcamps may reopen
  • Local and regional travel is allowed
  • Physical distancing rules still apply
  • All hygiene rules, including washing your hands regularly, staying at home if you feel sick and being tested even if your symptoms are mild still apply

Step 2

  • You can have gatherings of up to 20 outside of a home. These numbers may be larger in some states and territories than others, depending on the circumstance
  • Work from home if it works for you and your employer
  • Gyms, beauty therapies, cinemas, theatres, amusement parks, galleries and museums may reopen
  • Some interstate travel is allowed
  • Physical distancing rules still apply
  • All hygiene rules, including washing your hands regularly, staying at home if you feel sick and being tested even if your symptoms are mild still apply

Step 3

  • You can have gatherings of up to 100 people. These numbers may be larger in some states and territories than others, depending on the circumstance
  • Workers may return to the workplace
  • Cross-Tasman, Pacific Island travel and international student travel may be considered
  • Food courts, saunas and bathhouses may reopen
  • All interstate travel is allowed
  • Physical distancing rules still apply
  • All hygiene rules, including washing your hands regularly, staying at home if you feel sick and being tested even if your symptoms are mild still apply

While there's no definitive timeframe for each step to be complete, Morrison said: "It is our goal to move through all of these steps to achieve that COVID-safe economy in July of this year."

Understandably, not every state will be at the same stage at the same time. To this, Morrison said that "states can, and will, move at their own pace". As such, states and territories are to decide for themselves when these changes will come into effect. The movement from each step will depend on medical advice, widespread testing and the ability to trace and trap outbreaks.

To ensure you're keeping safe, here's a breakdown of the specific rules state by state and when they'll come into effect. To reiterate, all spatial distancing and hygiene practices still apply.

NSW

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that restrictions will ease from 15 May, as part of Step 1. From this day, the following applies:

  • Up to 5 visitors in a household at one time, regardless of age.
  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted.
  • Cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at any one time. A four-square metre per person rule applies.
  • Weddings up to 10 guests are permitted.
  • Indoor funerals up to 20 mourners, outdoor funerals up to 30 are allowed.
  • Religious gatherings/places of worship may welcome up to 10 worshippers at any one time.
  • Use of outdoor equipment and playgrounds permitted, with caution.
  • Outdoor pools open with restrictions.

Upcoming changes: Many of Step 2's permissions will come into affect from 1 June. This includes the following permissions:

  • Regional travel for holiday purposes - this includes travel to the ACT.
  • Venues, including pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes, can seat up to 50 people at one time. A four-square metre per person rule applied.
  • Weddings up to 20 guests are permitted.
  • Religious service may recommence with up to 50 patrons.
  • Funerals up to 50 people permitted.
  • Libraries, art galleries and museums may reopen.
  • Beauty and nail salons may reopen so long as they adbide by these strict hygiene requirements.

Step 2 and Step 3 on the NSW roadmap have not been released yet.

Victoria

The Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews is rolling out a very limited Step 1 across the state from midnight 11.59pm May. As part of the restrictions ease, the following is permitted:

  • 5 visitors are allowed in a home; these should be family and friends.
  • Outoor sports and recreational activities are permitted for up to 10 people. This includes hiking, golf, fishing, kick-to-kick games and outdoor boot camps.
  • Up to 10 people permitted at community meetings, small prayer gatherings and auctions.
  • Professional sport training may resume.
  • Weddings of up to 10 guests are permitted.
  • Funerals of up to 20 people if indoors, 30 for outdoors, including the officiator, are allowed.
  • Select national and state parks may reopen.

Restaurants and cafes cannot yet open for dine-in, but are permitted to remain offering take-away and delivery.

Anyone who can work from home should continue working from home.

Upcoming changes: These restrictions are in place until 11.59pm on 31 May 2020, when Step 2 will be rolled out. From 1 June, Andrews has confirmed the following will be permitted:

  • Up to 20 patrons in an enclosed space, including households, swimming pools, galleries, museums, libraries and beauty and personal care services.
  • Outdoor getherings of up to 20 people.
  • Campgrounds and caravan parks can reopen so long as there are no shared communal facilities in operation.
  • Regional travel is permitted.
  • Weddings of up to 20 guests - including the celebrant.
  • Funerals of up to 50 people.

Step 3 relaxations are expected to commence on 22 June where the number of guests in a space will increase to 50. This will further increase to 100 in the second half of July.

ACT

The ACT chief minister Andrew Barr has stated that restrictions will ease from midnight 8 May. Specifically;

  • 10 visitors may gather inside or outside a home.
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed for boot camps and training outdoors, open homes and auctions, weddings, places of worship and religious services. For weddings, the 10 attendees exclude the officiant.
  • Funerals may have up to 20 attendees if indoors and 30 outdoors.
  • Cafes and restaurants must remain closed for dine-in.

Upcoming changes: Barr has confirmed that Stage 2 will commence from 30 May. On this date, the following will be permitted:

  • Gatherings of up to 20 people.
  • Gyms, cinemas, beauticians and tattoo studios may reopen.

From 1 June, travel between the ACT and NSW is allowed.

Stage 3 of the restriction ease will be confirmed by 19 June and is anticipated to include the following:

  • Gatherings of up to 100 people permitted.
  • All accommodation areas reopened.
  • Pubs and clubs may resume business.

Strip clubs and brothels are to remain closed. More to come.

Queensland

Effective Friday 15 May:

  • 5 visitors are allowed in a home; these may be from separate households.
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed. This includes outdoor, non-contact activities, personal training, pools, public spaces, parks, playgrounds, skateparks, outdoor gyms, libraries, weddings, hiking and places of worship.
  • Funerals of up to 20 people if indoors, 30 for outdoors, including the officiator, are allowed.
  • Recreational travel of up to 150km from your region is allowed, restricted to day trips.
  • Shops may reopen.
  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, RSLs and hotels may reopen with a maximum of 10 people at one time.
  • Bars and gaming venues must remain closed.
  • Beauty therapy and nail salons may reopen.
  • In the outback, dining venues may reopen for locals only to a maximum of 20 people (no bars or gaming).
  • In the outback, recreational travel of up to 500km is allowed to locals only.

Upcoming changes: Queensland is roadmapped for Step 2 to commence from 12 June. The framework for restrictions is:

  • Gatherings of 20 people are allowed. This includes outdoor and indoor non-contact activities, personal training, pools, health clubs, yoga studios, museums, art galleries, historic sites, public spaces, parks, playgrounds, skateparks, outdoor gyms, libraries, weddings, hiking, places of worship and religious services.
  • Funerals of up to 50 people are allowed.
  • Recreational travel of up to 250km from your region is allowed, restricted to day trips. Camping and accommodation are permitted.
  • Shops may reopen.
  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, RSLs, hotels and casinos may reopen with a maximum of 20 people at one time
  • Bars and gaming venues must remain closed.
  • Indoor cinemas may reopen.
  • Open homes and auctions may reopen.
  • Outdoor amusement parks, tourism experiences, zoos and arcades may reopen.
  • Concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums and stadiums may reopen.
  • Beauty therapy, nail salons and spas may reopen.
  • In the outback, dining venues may reopen for locals only to a maximum of 20 people.
  • In the outback, recreational travel of up to 500km is allowed to locals only.
  • Over the Queensland school holidays you may drive around your region.
  • Tourism accommodation may reopen.
  • In the outback, dining venues may reopen for locals only to a maximum of 50 people (no bars or gaming).
  • In the outback, all recreational travel is allowed to locals only.

Step 3 is proposed to commence on 10 July 2020 and will allow for gatherings of up to 100 people across all previously opened venues. Casinos, gaming and gambling venues as well as nightclubs and beauty parlours will be added to the list.

The Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed that the plan is to allow full movement around the state by 10 July.

South Australia

As at 22 May, the following applies:

  • Most gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed. This includes outdoor restaurants, small church services, local libraries, youth and community centres, pools and outdoor sports
  • Reopening of universities and TAFE for face-to-face learning
  • Funerals up to 20 indoors, 30 for outdoors, including the officiator
  • Regional travel allowed; this includes camping and caravanning
  • Restaurants and cafes are allowed seat up to 20 patrons at one time for dine-in.

Upcoming changes: South Australia has roadmapped that Step 2 will fall into place from 5 June. The framework for this step is:

  • Most gatherings of groups of up to 20 people will be allowed. This includes cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, beauty, nails, tattoo, massages and indoor and outdoor gyms
  • Funerals up to 50 people
  • Driving instruction lessons
  • Sport is to transition to competition level, without spectators. This includes indoor sports

Following this, future steps will see larger gatherings permitted. This includes the reopening of pubs, clubs, nightclubs, bars, stadiums, large entertainment venues, food courts, spas and saunas. Travel restrictions on state borders and international students may also ease.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is currently in Stage 2 of its COVIDSafe roadmap. As part of this stage the territory allows:

  • Playgrounds, parks, public skateparks, pools and outdoor gyms to be open.
  • Outdoor religious gatherings including weddings and funerals.
  • Open house inspections and auctions.
  • Fishing with a mate and outdoor non-contact sport.
  • All regional travel for residents, including to East Arnhem Land.

The following are permitted with a 2-hour time limit attached to patrons and attendees:

  • Restaurants, cafes, clubs and bars (excludes gaming activities) may reopen. For all, alcohol must be served with a meal
  • Beauty parlours, with facial services recommencing on 5 June
  • Gyms, yoga, Pilates, massages
  • Indoor religious gatherings, including weddings and funerals
  • Outdoor sports training
  • Public libraries, toy libraries, galleries and museums

Upcoming changes: Stage 3 is proposed to begin on 5 June. This will remove any time limits and allows any businesses with a COVID plan to reopen. This includes:

  • All sports and competitions
  • Casinos, TABs and pokies
  • Bars and nightclubs (with no food restrictions)
  • Tattoo parlours
  • Adult entertainment
  • Laser and cosmetic surgery
  • Cinemas

Western Australia

Western Australia began Phase 1 of its plan on 27 April and entered Phase 2 on 18 May. In it, indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings of up to 20 people are are allowed. This applies to the following:

  • Restaurants and cafés with meal service - this includes pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and casino. The four square metre rule must be applied.
  • Recreational activities such as picnics, hiking, camping and fishing.
  • Indoor weddings and funerals. Outdoor events are permitted to have 30 attendees.
  • Places of worship, community facilities and libraries.
  • Non-contact community sports are allowed.
  • Open homes and display villages.
  • Outdoor or indoor fitness classes with minimal shared equipment.
  • Public swimming pools may reopen one indoor pool and one outdoor pool, limited to 20 patrons per pool.
  • People are encouraged to return to work, unless they are unwell or vulnerable.

Regional travel openings are as follows:

  • From 29 May, travel is permitted within the state except to the Commonwealth biosecurity areas. These are Kimberley, East Pilbara, Ngaanyatjarraku and remote Aboriginal communities.
  • From 5 June, travel is permitted throughout Western Australia excluding remote Aboriginal communitues.

Upcoming changes: The McGowan government confirmed on 29 May that Phase 3 would be introduced from 6 June due to the limited community transmissions of COVID-19. This will allow the following:

  • Up to 100 people per undivided space or up to 300 people in total per venue over multiple spaces. A 2 square metre per person rule applies.
  • Weddings and funerals of up to 100 people.
  • Food and beverage venues may reopen but only with seated service.
  • Alcohol may be served without a meal, however this must be a seated service.
  • Food courts may reopen as a seated service.
  • Beauty therapy and personal care services permitted. This includes nail, tanning and waxing salons.
  • Saunas, bath houses, wellness centres, spas and massages may reopen for 100 people in an undivided space or 300 in across multiple spaces.
  • Gyms, health clubs and indoor sport centres may reopen.
  • Indoor and outdoor contact community sport permitted, with gathering limits.
  • Face-to-face auction houses and real estate auctions permitted.
  • Public playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment, skate parks, cinemas, galleries, zoos, museums, amusement parks, wildlife parks, arcades, shake rinks, indoor play centres, concert venues and community facilities may reopen. The 100/300 rule applies to seated performances and indoor spaces.
  • TAB and casinos may reopen however Crown Casino's gaming floor must remain closed.
  • Parents and guardians may enter school grounds to pick-up and drop off children.
  • Travel is permitted, including to Rottnest Island and the Kimberley region, pending the Commonwealth's approval on 5 June. However, travel to Aboriginal communities is still prohibited.

Tasmania

Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein commenced Step 1 on Monday 11 May and is staggering its step-down restrictions week-on-week.

As at 25 May, the following changes apply:

  • Funerals of up to 20 people are allowed.
  • Two visitors may visit aged care facilities once per week.
  • National Parks to reopen for residents living without a 30km radius. Parks are for exercise only.
  • 5 visitors are allowed in a home.
  • 10 visitors may gather outside a home.
  • Restaurants and cafes may reopen, seating up to 10 people at a time.
  • Primary school students and Year 11 and 12 students may return to school for face-to-face teaching.

Upcoming changes:

Effective 9 June:

  • Year 7-10 students may return for face-to-face teaching.

Stage two is proposed to commence on 15 June and will see the following restrictions eased:

  • Gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed. This includes beauty services such as facials, nail salons, and tattoo studios, outdoor exercise equipment, playgrounds, indoor and outdor sports, auctions, gyms and boot camps.
  • Funerals of up to 50 people are allowed.
  • Overnight trips across the state are permitted.
  • Camping, overnight boating and shacks may reopen for up to 20 people.
  • All accommodation may reopen.

Stage three is proposed to commence on 13 July and will see the following eased:

  • Gatherings of up 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, with specific numbers to be determined by Public Health.
  • Aged care homes are allowed 5 visitors and multiple visits.
  • Markets, bars, night clubs and casinos may reopen, subject to Public Health advice.
  • Food courts and food vans can reopen.
  • Spas and bathouses may reopen
  • Outdoor and indoor sport to reopen. This is subject to approval by Public Health.

The Cabinet is reviewing the stages every three weeks. And while some states have noted their plans for Steps 2 and 3, these are all subject to change depending on the advice of health authorities.

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