As social distancing rules and restrictions become even tighter around Australia amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, you might be asking yourself whether you can still see your boyfriend or girlfriend if you don’t live with them.
Update: The Victorian government has backflipped after it came under fire for telling residents they were no longer able to visit their partners - that don’t live with them - for social reasons.
“You cannot visit your partner for social reasons. There are select reasons you can go to the home of your partner,” Lisa Neville, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, when she was asked to clarify the ‘stay at home’ directive currently in place across the state.
However by Wednesday Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton tweeted the state “has no desire” to penalise anyone leaving their home to visit their partner or significant other.
“We’ll be making an exemption,” he said, to clarify things. “Hope that helps.”
Lisa Neville’s post initially came up against a wall of backlash on her page, with many saying they’re concerned how this might affect people’s mental health and wellbeing.
“Frankly this is a huge mental health risk,” one person said, while others called the move “very harsh” and “absolute madness”.
“This is just not sustainable, having a partner for emotional stability, ESPECIALLY in these trying times, is essential. The fact that i can go buy a puzzle from Target but not see the one person that I feel emotionally safe with is concerning,” another person wrote.
“The #BootyCall has been outlawed in VIC,’ another person commented.
Can I visit my boyfriend or girlfriend in other states?
Other states around Australia has been a little more giving on whether or not you could visit your partner if you don’t live with them. But there still has to be a valid reason to do so.
The New South Wales Police Commissioner today said visiting your romantic partner in another household is allowed on reasons of care or mental health.
Under Queensland’s home confinement decision, which was released on Sunday, you can only leave your home to visit a member of “immediate family” for care or support.
In most other states people are still allowed to visit their partners, with the small exception that if they live too far away from you then travelling to them is discouraged.
What do I need to think about when visiting my partner?
Put simply, if both people are practicing self-isolation and social distancing, aren’t showing any symptoms, and haven’t come into contact with anyone who has test positive for COVID-19, then it is safer for you to visit your partner.
Dr Norman Swan, a journalist and medical professional, said couples can see each other if they are taking all the precautions – and those include no physical touch and keeping at least a 1.5m distance.
“You should not break the 2m rule, even with your own partner,” Dr Swan told ABC’s Coronacast.
“The problem here is you’re not living with them so you’re not quite sure what each other’s doing or who you’ve come in contact with. That’s the problem.”
At this stage the government is allowing two people to meet, so as long as you are not getting together in a crowded area, Dr Swan said “it’s okay” to catch up.
According to advice it would be better to do so in their home. While the two person limit also applies to households, there is an exception for ‘family split across two houses’.
“This means you can go and visit your boyfriend or girlfriend, siblings or parents,” the advice states.
Can I kiss my partner during coronavirus?
The answer is no, as it flies in the face of all social distancing rules and can contribute to the spread of the virus.
It is known that coronavirus can spread person-to-person, which means any contact, including kissing should be refrained from.
“The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales,” WHO says.
Can I still have sex with my partner?
Same applies as above. Unless you actually live with your partner, News.com.au reports.
“If you are free of symptoms but are social distancing, then there are no reasons why you cannot continue to have sex with your partner when you live together,” University of East Anglia School of Medicine’s Professor Paul Hunter said.
Should I take a break from dating during coronavirus?
“Exposing yourself or others to the virus is irresponsible. And if you caught the virus off someone you met on Tinder, for example, there would be no way to contact-trace them.”
“Online is really the only option at the moment. Meet up on Facetime, have dinner together. Talk on the phone. It’s not the same as being physically able to touch each other, but at the moment it’s the only option.”
Some people are suggesting ordering the same UberEats option so it feels like they’re together while they eat it and chat online. There are even online clubs where you can ‘boogie alone, together.’
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