More Australians may be able to pack into smaller venues with the government announcing a new two-square metre rule as part of its lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Friday eligible smaller premises would be determined by their jurisdiction, but as a general rule they are venues of about 100 square metres in size.
The previous distancing rule was that each person was required to have four square metres of space in all venues.
“So that means for much smaller premises that would otherwise have been trying to stick to a four-square metre rule arrangement, this just gives them a bit more room for them to be taking more patrons,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison added it was up to jurisdictions to choose to adopt this new rule.
“In Tasmania and Western Australia they’ve already moved to that two-square metre arrangement, so other states will be free to consider that,” he told reporters.
Australia sticks to three-step coronavirus plan
Mr Morrison said there were still a million new cases of COVID-19 being reported around the world every week.
He said we were seeing the coronavirus take hold in places like South America at a level “difficult to imagine” and anticipated there would be similar scenarios in Africa and other parts of the world.
“The challenge being faced globally only gets more complicated, more complex, more difficult,” he said.
“Against that backdrop, Australia’s performance is remarkable, and that is a tribute to all who are involved.
“Certainly, of course, we have some challenges in Victoria at the moment but I think that does put it in perspective. We remain on track, the curve remains flat.”
In response to the current coronavirus outbreak in Victoria, Mr Morrison said that could have easily occurred in any state or territory in Australia.
“At National Cabinet today there was a great sense of solidarity in supporting Victoria because this could occur in Queensland, it could occur in Western Australia, it could occur in Tasmania, New South Wales, in any other place,” he said.
“National Cabinet [have] remained firm on sticking with their three-step plan and continuing the easing of restrictions that will continue into next month. Premiers will be making announcements about those issues either today or the days that follow.”
International travel not likely until late next year
On Thursday Qantas boss Alan Joyce said he did not believe international travel would be possible until late next year at the earliest.
Mr Morrison said while it was hard to predict, Mr Joyce’s claim was not “unreasonable”.
“We hope we can come to an arrangement with New Zealand before that, whether it’s with other nations – a number of other countries expressed an interest given our success in Australia,” he said.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be invitations we take up. So as you look around the world and you see the intensity of the virus escalating, not decelerating, then I think it is not unreasonable for Alan Joyce to form the view he has.
“No one really knows and that’s the problem. That’s just the uncertainty we have to deal with and as we make so many decisions, you can’t always do it on full information and you have to make judgements based on the best possible advice and where you think things are going.”
While Mr Morrison said it was good to know what the next step was three or six months from now, as you tried to make those decisions, the greater uncertainty there was about the environment you were making the decisions about.
Prime Minister’s stern warning to panic buyers
With Coles and Woolworths forced to reintroduce restrictions on the number of products customers can buy amid more panic buying, Mr Morrison warned Australians to be sensible.
“Stop it, it’s ridiculous,” he said.
“More importantly, those restrictions have been put in place.
“I’m sure it will pass as it did last time and there’s no need for it and I think today it’s important to reassure people the outbreak doesn’t mean there’s a problem. The response to that outbreak is strong which means Australians can have confidence.”
It saddens me to even have to say this, but can people please stop panic buying.— Ali Cupper MP (@AliCupper) June 25, 2020
It is unbelievable that supermarket shelves in #Mildura have already been stripped of toilet paper.
All panic buying does is the adversely impact the most needy, and most at-risk like the elderly pic.twitter.com/XOAISlkdJ9
Coles and Woolworths have reintroduced purchase limits on toilet paper nationwide as panic-buying sweeps the country once again.
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