Over the last two weekends, Queenslanders revelled in their newly reinstated freedom to be able to visit nearby national parks, go for recreational drives and picnic in the park, and—for the most—stuck to social distancing guidelines. Now, talk has turned to when other freedoms will return, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison today, Friday 8 May, announced the National Cabinet’s three step plan for coming out of lockdown over the next few months.
The strategy of the three step plan is to ease restrictions gradually,with each stage reviewed every three weeks to evaluate whether social distancing measures are keeping COVID-19 numbers low, and though the Prime Minister admits that there will be outbreaks, setbacks and challenges along the way, the goal is to achieve a COVID safe economy with most restrictions eased by July this year. Australia's roadmap out of lockdown announced today is as follows, with Queensland's plan below.
Step one is to allow ‘greater connection with friends and family.’ This means gatherings of up to 10 people, with 5 visitors to your own home, allowed, the opening of libraries, schools and playgrounds, boot camps of up to 10 people allowed in parks, and golf courses and swimming pools open. Retail stores and small cafes and restaurants will also be able to reopen with physical distancing measures in place, however working from home will still be encouraged if it works for you and your employer.
Step two will allow larger gatherings of up to 20 people in the home, businesses and public places. Business and activities that may be able to open and go ahead with physical distancing guidelines in place ahead include cinemas, galleries, gyms, campgrounds and beauty parlours, as well as some interstate travel.
Step three will see gatherings of up to 100 people allowed. Businesses and activities that may be able to open and go ahead include pubs and clubs, spas and saunas and all interstate travel, with Cross-Tasman, Pacific Island and international student travel also considered
Hand in hand with each of these steps, is of course the responsibility to maintain physical distancing and high levels of hygiene—1.5m distancing requirements will still be in case, and people should be staying home if feeling sick or unwell. It’s also recommended that people download the COVIDSafe app in order to help with contact tracing, which will become more important than ever once people start mingling again.
However, when restrictions will be eased is under a state-by-state basis, and Queensland Premier Annastacia has already announced what Queensland's plan to ease restrictions looks like.
When will Queensland ease restrictions?
As announced by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland's calendar for easing lockdown is as follows.
Stage One: Friday 15 May
As of next weekend, the following will be allowed:
- Up to 5 visitors from separate households allowed to your home
- Gatherings of up to 10 people allowed for:
- Outdoor, non-contact activities
- Dining in at cafes, restaurants and pubs
- Personal training
- Indoor and outdoor swimming pools
- Public spaces and lagoons
- Parks, playgrounds and outdoor gyms
- Hiking and other recreational activities
- Funerals can have up to 20 people indoors and 30 outdoors
- Recreational travel for day trips of up to 150kms within the state
Stage Two: Friday 12 June
Pending the evaluation of stage one measures, further openings and relaxed restrictions will mean the following is allowed:
- Gatherings of up to 20 people:
- At home
- For dining in, including restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs and bars
- At indoor cinemas
- At amusement parks, zoos, tourism experiences and arcades
- At concert venues, theatres and similar
- At beauty salons and spas
- For non-contact indoor and outdoor sport
- For personal training
- At gyms and yoga studios
- At indoor and outdoor pools and sports clubs
- In museums, galleries, libraries, historic sites and places of worship
- For weddings
- In playgrounds, parks and outdoor gyms
- For hiking, camping and other recreational activities in state parks
- In tourism accomodation
- Recreational travel, camping and accomodation (up to 250kms from your home)
Stage Three: Friday 10 July
Pending the evaluation of stage two measures, gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed for all of the activities and businesses previously listed, with further businesses such as nightclubs, food courts, tattoo parlours and non-therapeutic massage parlours added. Borders will also reopen, with intrastate travel permitted.
Public health rules to maintain pysical distancing, four square metres per person indoors, hand hygiene and frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection will also remain in place throughout all of the three stages.
But that's it folks—if checks at the end of each four week stage have positive results, Queensland will be out of lockdown and almost back to normal by the July. We'll see you at the pub for beer when it's all over.
Image credit: City of Gold Coast