Harsh restrictions could return after Victoria outbreak
HARSH social distancing restrictions could be gradually reimposed in Queensland as Victoria's second wave forced National Cabinet to slam the brakes on further easing.
Queensland was one of the first out of the blocks yesterday, removing the right to stand at licensed venues but plans for further opening were also put on ice or rolled back in NSW, SA and WA.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said state and territory leaders were on "alert" for signs of the second wave spreading but remained committed to a suppression strategy with no community transmissions.
"I think the events both in Victoria and New South Wales are a reminder that the virus is still out there, it will still make its way and it will still throw everything at us and we must be prepared to respond," he said.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said leaders were "reconsidering their complete opening up" plans as WA postponed for two weeks a move to remove all restrictions except its hard border.
"Everyone agrees now that that alert phase that we're in at the moment is important, and so everyone has slowed down their three or four or five-step plan (for easing restrictions)," Prof Kelly said.
Depending on the number of cases in coming weeks, the freedom of Queensland's current stage three restrictions could be gradually tightened.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said on Friday she was "much more concerned" now than she was a fortnight ago in the wake of cases in New South Wales and the spiralling situation in Victoria.
"I think this is a time for all of us to be concerned," Dr Young said.
"I really think this is a time for people to think twice before they travel interstate to either New South Wales or Victoria."
She also rescinded patrons' freedom to stand up in licensed venues, forcing customers to sit down, however they can still buy a drink at the bar if they return to their seat after paying.
"I'm reimposing that restrictions that we had up to three weeks ago," she said.
Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the outbreaks in Victoria and New South Wales were a reminder for everyone to be vigilant because the threat was "undiminished".
"Can I just start by reminding everyone in Queensland that this is not over. We're six months in. We're probably not even halfway through this response to be really honest," he said.
"Whilst we've mitigated the risk … the threat remains the same."
He said people needed to take social distancing and good hygiene practices seriously because border restrictions could not guarantee new cases would be prevented from coming into Queensland.
"If we don't get that right and (coronavirus) does re-establish itself in this state, there is no doubt that we will have to think about further lockdowns and further restrictions," he said.
Police also moved to prevent further delays at border check points by reminding travellers to update their declaration passes after Fairfield, NSW, was added to a list of interstate hot spots.
- Patrons can no longer enjoy a drink or linger at the bar. They can approach the bar and order but must then return to sit at a table.
RESTRICTIONS STILL IN PLACE
- Up to 100 friends and family allowed for a house party.
- Up to 100 mourners will be allowed to attend a funeral.
- Couples can invite 100 people to their weddings.
- Contact details of those attending will need to be kept for at least 56 days.
RESTAURANTS, PUBS AND CAFES
- You will be able to order a drink from the bar and order a counter meal.
- Food courts will be allowed to reopen, with a COVID Safe plan.
- The maximum number of patrons allowed at a restaurant and cafe will be determined by the four square metre rule.
- Smaller venues below 200 sqm can have one person for every two square metres.
- Casinos will be reopening and punters will be allowed to play the pokies.
- Nightclubs can reopen, with a COVID Safe plan.
- Concert venues, theatres and auditoriums can reopen. They can only take on 50 per cent capacity or one person for every four square metres.
- The number of people allowed at museums, art galleries, libraries and historic sites will be determined by the four square metre rule.
- Events of over 10,000 people will be allowed, but strict rules will apply.
- The new road map says office-based workers will be able to return to their workplace.
- Contact sport, like rugby, will be back.
- Crowds to be allowed back at community sports events.
- Up to 25,000 spectators or 50 per cent capacity (whichever is the lesser) will be permitted into Queensland stadiums.
Originally published as Harsh restrictions could return after Vic outbreak