This weekend marks a change for much of Australia. After living with restrictions to curb COVID-19 for well over a month, some of these will be relaxed as of today, May 1.
The relaxation of these orders differs between the different states and territories, so it is important to check out what is happening in your area before making any changes to your current iso routine.
Below, we’ve rounded up the biggest changes in rules taking place across the country, broken down by state and territory.
☆ New South Wales
Despite being the state hardest hit by COVID-19 — with the largest number of infections and deaths in the country — NSW was one of the first to announce a relaxation on restrictions. As of today, May 1, two adults (and their young children, if they have them) will be able to visit loved ones in their homes.
According to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, these changes were made on the basis of mental health.
“It is to reduce socialise lags and improve mental health,” she said. “We know so many people in our community have been literally locked up in their homes for weeks on end. We thank them for it.”
While is definitely a risk associated with loosening these social restrictions, Berejiklian is “absolutely confident that people will be responsible”.
“Don’t take risks,” she said. “We don’t want to see the numbers suddenly spike up because people are being irresponsible.”
Beaches in Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama have also reopened, but are only able to accessed by locals. Otherwise, all other restriction measures are still in place in NSW.
3 big changes in May:
?Return of face-to-face school
?Up to 2 adults & dependent children able to visit another household to reduce isolation & improve mental health
?likely increase in retail activity
Social distancing & good hygiene crucial.
Info: https://t.co/ka9q1ClOKn pic.twitter.com/L4rjb7DpRg
— Gladys Berejiklian (@GladysB) April 30, 2020
For Victorians, the message is still to stay home if you can. The state is still operating under a state of emergency (which can be lifted on May 11) and will most likely continue on as usual until then, as reported by the ABC.
Premier Daniel Andrews is keen to conduct 100,000 tests in the state within the next two weeks before his Government considers relaxing any current restrictions.
This means Victorians should only be leaving the house for “shopping for food and other essential services, medical care or care-giving, exercise and work or education”.
We're asking people to stay home and save lives.
But for some Victorians, home is the most dangerous place to be.
And right now, it can be even harder for victims of family violence to seek support.
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) April 28, 2020
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has relaxed many of the stay-at-home orders in the sunshine state. From Saturday, May 2, Queensland residents will be allowed to leave their homes for recreation. The restriction on travel has also changed, with Queenslanders able to travel 50km from home now.
According to the ABC, while physical distancing measures are still in place, these changes mean that Queenslanders are now able to have a picnic, visit a national park, go for a drive, ride a motorbike, jet ski or boat (for pleasure!) and shop for non-essential items.
But, an extra 140 police officers will be patrolling outdoor activity, says Queensland Police.
☆ Western Australia
In WA, the two-person rule has now been changed to a 10-person limit, so small groups can hang out — both inside and outside. But, there must be enough space for four square metres per person, so if you have a small home, be aware of this. Premier Mark McGowan says that the state is taking a “cautious relaxation” approach to restrictions.
According to the ABC, boot camps and group exercise will also be allowed again, as long as physical distancing is in place. A number of social and recreational activities have been reinstated as well, you can now:
- Have a picnic in a park (with a maximum of 10 people)
- Play soccer at the park (with a maximum of 10 people)
- Go fishing, play golf or tennis
- Go bushwalking or for a hike
- Take your boat out (but Rottnest as moorings are still closed, as reported by the ABC)
This is our WA COVID-19 update for Thursday 30 April 2020.
— Mark McGowan (@MarkMcGowanMP) April 30, 2020
☆ Northern Territory
Compared to the rest of Australia, the Northern Territory is making the most drastic changes to its restrictions after three weeks of no new infections. From 12pm today, May 1, there will no longer be a 10-person limit when it comes to outdoor activities, as reported by the ABC.
This relaxation means that there is no longer a limit on attendance at funerals and weddings and playgrounds will also be reopened. But, physical distancing must still be followed in these situations.
Territorians will also be able to go fishing, camping and play non-contact sport as well as visit pools, go sailing and participate in boot camps.
“There is one important principle, and that is physical distancing. Failure to do so puts this plan at risk,” said NT’s Chief Minister, Michael Gunner.
— SBS News (@SBSNews) April 30, 2020
There won’t be any relaxation on restrictions in Tassie, with Premier Peter Gutwein telling Tasmanians that this will have to wait. According to the ABC, Gutwein will be reviewing this closer to May 15.
But, when these measures are eased, it would begin with parks, reserves and recreation spaces.
“I am hopeful that in coming weeks the advice from Public Health will be that we can begin loosening some restrictions, however, this will only occur if the health risk is low,” Gutwein said.
☆ South Australia
There won’t be any major restrictions for residents in South Australia, as according to the ABC, the state took a moderate approach when implementing them. For example, social distancing has been enforced in the state, but beaches have remained open this whole time.
The Barossa Valley wine region has been reopened this week (following incidents of COVID-19 outbreaks) and all wineries, breweries and cellar doors are allowed to offer takeaway.
— Steven Marshall, MP (@marshall_steven) April 30, 2020
This week, the ACT became the first state or territory to achieve no active cases of COVID-19 in the country. Despite these achievements, there are no current plans to change the current orders, as reported by the ABC.
Like South Australia, the restrictions in the ACT are much more moderate, especially compared to neighbouring NSW. According to Chief Minister Andrew Barr, relaxing any restrictions could pose an issue with people travelling from NSW to ACT to reap the benefits.
“Were we to reopen bars and restaurants, but they remained closed in NSW, then we would get quite an influx of people into the territory and that would lead to an increased risk,” he said.
The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.