The ACT’s public health restrictions have been softened to allow families to visit one another inside both Canberra and NSW homes, while non-essential retail shopping will also be permitted.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said today that the changes are taking place locally, with national baseline restrictions set to be eased in a week’s time.
“Gatherings inside of family homes will be relaxed to allow families to visit each other. Two adults and children are able to visit those who live in another property.
“We also want to support retail stores as they reopen, whilst of course maintaining appropriate physical distancing inside.
“We are now in a position to be able to give guidance that it is okay to go shopping for items outside of what you would find in a supermarket.”
Mr Barr added that “not all retail stores will reopen, and physical distancing must be maintained”.
Travel restrictions into NSW will also be eased, with Canberrans advised to only travel outside of the Canberra region in small groups to visit family and friends.
“This will be particularly important for many families and households … that small amount of discretion and compassionate travel is, I think, an important next step in our journey,” Mr Barr said.
National Cabinet will meet next Tuesday and next Friday and discuss more details in relation to the national baselines on public health restrictions, which will subsequently be updated.
Jurisdictions will be given flexibility within those national baselines to move forward easing various restrictions.
“There will be more flexibility regarding outdoor activities rather than indoor ones … I need to caution that they will be very gradual, and we will need to continue our physical distancing,” Mr Barr said.
“We also want to advise that further work is continuing within the National Cabinet on business activity restrictions and physical distancing advice.”
Mr Barr said allowing public gatherings of up to 10 is “certainly on the agenda”.
“What we’ve announced today in relation to household units being able to visit each other is a little bit of a down payment on that general direction,” he said.
As restrictions are eased, Canberrans will need to continue playing their part to prevent a new wave of cases.
“This virus will continue to circulate around the globe, there’s no immunity, there’s no vaccine,” Mr Barr said.
“Every step we take needs to be incredibly measured and we also need to have in place the capacity to respond and I suspect that’s going to be when further outbreaks occur, not if they do.
“That’s the risk associated with any premature unlocking of any restrictions, but equally we cannot continue indefinitely in a very heavy lockdown, that’s not sustainable either.”