PM orders thousands of venues to close to halt coronavirus spread

Olivia Lambert
News Editor

Licensed clubs, pubs, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs, gyms and sporting venues, restaurants, cafes and places of worship have been ordered to close from midday tomorrow in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The government announced the stage 1 restrictions on Sunday night.

Funerals in enclosed spaces can still go ahead, but must adhere to the four-square-metre per person rule.

Shopping centres will remain open, however, restaurants and cafes will offer take away only.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the measures after a meeting with state and territory leaders on Sunday night.

"We now need to take action because we cannot have the confidence as a group of leaders that the social distancing guidelines and rules that we have put in place won't be followed to the level of compliance that we require to flatten the curve and slow the spread and save lives," Mr Morrison said.

As of Sunday morning the total number of coronavirus infections in Australia had risen to 1098.

‘Not remotely ok’: PM slams crowds on Bondi Beach

The Prime Minister asked for Australians to remain clam and exercise sensible judgement.

What we saw at Bondi Beach was not OK. It was not even remotely OK, and that sent a message to the premiers, a message to the chief ministers and me, that not enough Australians are taking that seriously,” he said on Sunday.

“I said today we are in a war against the virus, and all Australians are enlisted to do the right thing. We can give instruction, we can enforce them.

“People are told to self isolate for 14 days when they come back. People are told to keep 1.5-metre distance. Venues are told to have an average of four-metres for each person.

“This needs to be observed, otherwise very draconian measures need to be enforced.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced drastic measures to fight the coronavirus on Sunday. Source: AAP

Mr Morrison said these were significant changes that were enforced “regrettably” as it would impact people who can not act in a way they did before.

“This is what I mean when we all don’t do the right thing it has real implications for others,” he said.

Prime Minister also stressed these arrangements could remain in place for at least six months.

“If the health situation changes and enables us to reconsider the changes then they can be reconsidered but I don't want anybody to get the impression that these arrangements will be in place for a couple of weeks,” he said.

South Australia and Western Australia will effectively close their borders in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

What will stay open?

  • Supermarkets

  • Petrol stations

  • Pharmacies

  • Convenience stores

  • Freight and logistics

  • Home delivery

  • Banks

Will schools remain open?

Mr Morrison said schools could remain open but it would be up to states to make their own decisions.

“The Commonwealth doesn't make the decisions for them. But it is important that when they do that they are mindful of the impacts and consequences, and particularly for their own health workforce,” he said.

Schools across most of the country remain open unless otherwise advised, however ACT schools will close on Tuesday as teachers plan how to keep classes operating during the coronavirus pandemic.

NSW will make a decision about schools closing on Monday.

States will make decisions about whether or not schools will close. Source: AAP

Schools in Victoria will start holidays early, meaning students will be off school from Tuesday.

But Mr Morrison stressed this would not be the usual school holiday period.

“This won't be a holiday as it is normally known for the breaking term. There won't be trips interstate, there won't be those holiday normal type arrangements, they won't be congregating up at their trampoline venue or whatever it happens to be. It won't be happening,” he said.

“It won't be a holiday as anybody has ever known. 

“And it is important I think that families and households understand that because over the course of the term break we need to ensure that we continue to follow the very strict rules around social distancing.

“This is a critical time – an absolutely critical time.” 

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