Following a meeting of the National Cabinet overnight on 24 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced further Stage 2 enhanced social distance measures and restrictions on non-essential gatherings and outdoor gatherings, effective from 11.59pm (local time) 25 March 2020. From that time, the following activities and venues will be prohibited:
Restrictions relating to the following venues and facilities will be a decision for each State and Territory:
The measures will be operationalised in the States and Territories by way of legislative or directional orders.
Overnight, the Prime Minister announced that the Commonwealth Government will implement a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth), with a limited number of exemptions being managed by the Australian Border Force. The Commonwealth Government will also take action to prevent exploitative price gouging and exporting products that are essential to preventing and controlling the spread of coronavirus, including face masks, hand sanitiser and vital medicines. These measures will not impact normal consumer purchase of goods, commercial imports and exports, or other appropriate bulk sales.
The key priority continues to be the importance of social isolation measures as well as the importance of strict and rapid contact tracing of individuals to limit the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.
The Prime Minister advised 'Australians should stay at home, unless shopping for essentials, travelling to and from work - where you cannot work from home, going to school and exercising. Keep visitors to your home at a minimum. In outdoor spaces do not congregate in groups'.
Additionally, this morning, the Victorian Premier indicated that the National Cabinet made the decision that States and Territories will soon need to take individual measures, because COVID-19 is moving at different speeds at different places. The Premier advised that Victoria will introduce Stage 3 measures.
Although these measures have not yet been determined, the Premier indicated that 'things like supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, post offices and bottle shops – and a number of other essential services – will be staying open.'
If you own or operate a business in food and drink, retail, beauty and personal care services, entertainment, leisure and recreation, residential facility or outdoor recreation or other facility mentioned above, you must comply with the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister and cease to provide services from 11.59pm on 25 March 2020. You should take immediate action to implement and communicate with your stakeholders, staff and suppliers in relation to these measures.
Businesses not listed above or under any previous restrictions are permitted to continue to operate at the current time. The Government has not put in place lock down measures requiring individuals to remain in their home or all business to close, however Australians are being urged to stay home, unless it is essential that you leave your home. This includes implementing work from home arrangements wherever possible.
In any event, you should ensure that within your business, individuals (including staff and customers) within enclosed spaces adhere to the previously announced social distancing restrictions and the '4 square metre rule' and wherever possible, keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
These newly announced restrictions take effect from from 11.59pm (local time) 25 March 2020 and remain in effect until further notice.
Further information will be released shortly when the States and Territories make further announcements and operationalise the restrictions within their jurisdiction. Additionally, a need for Stage 3 restrictions has already been flagged.
The National Cabinet is due to meet again this evening on Wednesday 25 March 2020.
Depending on the way in which the measures are implemented within the States and Territories, it will be an offence if you do not comply with any directives, and the penalties may include a fine and/or imprisonment.
24 March 2020 Prime Minister: Update on Coronavirus measures
25 March 2020 Victoria: Statement from the Premier