With an extra-long weekend coming up, but COVID-19 hanging over us all, you're probably wondering what you can and can't do. Can I go for a drive? Can I visit my family? Can I go camping? Unfortunately, Easter is going to look a whole lot different for everyone this year, but if you're wondering what is and isn't allowed under lockdown, we've got some answers for you.
Under the NSW Health public health order that's currently in play, these are the 16 reasons you can leave your house. Fortunately for us, getting food is still one of them, so you can stock up on Sydney's best hot cross buns and chocolates without a worry. There's also a heap of places dishing up takeaway Easter feasts and Easter seafood, so check with your local restaurants to see if they'll take care of the cooking for you.
But, if you're thinking about leaving the house, here's what you can and can't do.
Can I Visit My Family?
Under current COVID-19 rules in NSW, you can't visit others unless it falls in line with one of the 16 reasons listed here—like giving care and helping a vulnerable relative. The key thing to consider here is that you may be unknowingly asymptomatic, and you could pass the coronavirus onto your loved ones. So unless you live with mum and dad, dropping in to share Easter eggs is off the cards. Do not visit elderly relatives or those most at risk of suffering severe symptoms of COVID-19. Big family gatherings are out, so plan to do those virtually.
Can I Go Away For The Weekend?
Nope. There's no leeway here. Hotels and such are now closed to all but those who need accommodation for work or self-isolation purposes, and "going camping" is not on the list of reasons to leave your house, even if it's within your own state. Pre-booked holidays do not count as an "essential" reason to travel.
Can I Go For A Drive?
Not unless you have a reason for driving—for example, one of these. People are being encouraged to stay close to their homes for shopping, excercise and other essential needs both to decrease the potential spread of coronavirus, and to limit the number of people who may need emergency services in the case of an accident. So no, you can't go for a Sunday drive, but you can go armchair travelling here, or maybe plan your first post-corona escape instead. Personally, we're heading for one of these tiny houses as soon as it's over.
Can I Hang In My Local Park?
Technically no. While you are allowed to exercise with one other person—and that could include a stroll or a jog through the park—you are not permitted to be outside your house for leisure, which means a picnic for two or catching some rays on the grass are both not allowed.
Can I Go For A Bushwalk?
Exercise is an essential activity, right? Not quite. While you can head outdoors for fresh air and excercise, you should be doing so close to your home, not driving for hours to find the perfect hiking spot (see above). Live near a great hike? Go for it. But make sure you check that the national park isn't on this list of closed parks around NSW first, and also consider the fact that a lot of others might have the same idea as you, so it might not be the solitary walk you were hoping for.
What Happens If I Do Any Of The Above?
You run the risk of getting a seriously hefty fine—up to $11,000 and six months jail time are both currently on the cards in NSW. Also, you run the risk of spreading COVID-19. Young people are not immune, and young people are suffering from more severe symptoms. If you want to get a better sense of the impact of physical distancing, this epidemiologist has explained it perfectly, and this extra-nerdy animation from Youtuber 3Blue1Brown simulates a few different social distancing scenarios (using a cute pi with googly eyes).
For more information on the COVID-19 crisis and how to protect yourself, visit the NSW Health website.
Image credit: Ted Binegas