What Aussies can and can't do under strict new coronavirus rules

Yahoo News Staff
·4-min read

New restrictions are set to be enforced across Australia to try and combat the spread of COVID-19, including travellers isolating in hotels and restrictions on gatherings.

From 11.59pm on Saturday, every traveller returning to Australia from overseas will be required to isolate in a hotel for 14 days.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Sydney Airport anticipates between 3000 and 5000 people will return via the airport every day “for the foreseeable future” and not all of which will be NSW residents.

“I know it is challenging times for those people returning home,” NSW Police Chief Commission Mick Fuller told reporters.

“They probably just want to come home and lay on their own bed and see their family members, but the reality is that (these are) truly unprecedented times.”

Ms Berejiklian confirmed residents from other states arriving in NSW will have to isolate in the state, before completing their journey home.

In NSW, police now have the power to slap anyone breaching isolation requirements or social distancing rules with on-the-spot fines and even jail time.

NSW Police stand guard outside the Swissotel Hotel in Market Street, Sydney, Thursday, March 26, 2020. The hotel has been declared  a "human health response zone", believed to be holding Australian passengers from the Norwegian Jewel cruiseliner. Source: AAP
NSW Police stand guard outside the Swissotel Hotel in Sydney as travellers are ordered to self-isolate. Source: AAP

More restrictions to come in NSW and Victoria

Ms Berejiklian also warned more restrictions will be put in place across the state if confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to add up at a rate the state government is “not comfortable with”.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews hinted stage three measures could be implemented across the state, but did not say when they could come into effect.

"(It's a) beautiful day today. Sadly, you need to stay home," Mr Andrews told reporters on Saturday.

"The fact that it's sunny, the fact that it's school holidays, this is no ordinary school holidays, this is no ordinary autumn day.

"And this is going to be the case for weeks to come."

Beaches within the Port Phillip area have been closed and more will be shut down elsewhere if necessary, the government said.

This comes after people ignored social distancing rules and flooded to St Kilda beach on Friday.

Borders remain open in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, while all other states and territories have closed theirs.

People continued to ignore social distancing measures and flock to the beach on Friday. Source: Getty
People continued to ignore social distancing measures and flock to the beach on Friday. Source: Getty

South Australia and Tasmania restrict social gatherings

South Australians who breach self-isolation or quarantine orders will be slapped with a $1000 on-the-spot fine under new regulations rushed into force.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said while the vast majority of people were doing the right thing, some people were not complying.

"This will send a very strong message that people who don't comply will face a stiff penalty," he said.

"The principal objective here is to ensure that people who are required to self-quarantine, who we believe are at risk of spreading the infection, comply with those obligations."

Gatherings of more than 10 people in South Australia are now banned, and gatherings of less than 10 people must still comply with the one person per four square metres rule.

 South Australia has closed it borders and people must go into 14 day isolation due to the COVID-19 virus. Source: AAP
South Australia has closed it borders and people must go into 14-day isolation due to COVID-19. Source: AAP

Tasmania has also implemented the same restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people, with offenders copping a fine of up to $16,800.

On Friday, Tasmania confirmed 11 additional cases.

More than 700 compliance checks have been carried out on people ordered to self-isolate.

Of those, 18 people were found to be breaching the rules, Premier Peter Gutwein told reporters on Saturday.

"If you are asked to going to self-isolation, then you need to stay in self-isolation," he said.

"This is not a game."

More retailers close stores amid pandemic

Across Australia, stores have stood down staff and shut their doors indefinitely as a result of the coronavirus.

Cotton On announced on Saturday they would be closing stores on Sunday.

Country Road, Mimco, Witchery, Trenery and Politix, which all fall under David Jones’ umbrella, will close – standing down around 5000 staff, according to The Australian.

Smiggle, Just Jeans and Peter Alexander will also shut their doors.

Myer announced on Friday stores across the country would shut for at least four weeks.

While retail stores are permitted to remain open for the time being, stores must abide by the social distancing measures put in place by the federal government.

The virus has also led to the closure of gyms and a number of Australia’s most iconic and popular venues.

With AAP

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