AFTER the federal government announced further restrictions on activities and venues last night (March 24), Canberra Chief Minister Andrew Barr warns of tougher restrictions to come.
“I need to alert people that they are likely to get tougher before they are relaxed as we go through the coming weeks and months,” Mr Barr says.
The warning comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison prohibited further activities and venues such as food courts (with the exception of takeaway), auctions and house inspections (with the exception of private inspections), beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, cinemas, community and recreation centres, boot camps (with exceptions on outdoor boot camps of less than 10 people), swimming pools, galleries, weddings (exceptions of weddings of five people), funerals (no more than 10 people) and hairdressers – but clients cannot stay longer than half an hour.
“The measures that have been announced reflect the next tough phase of our Australia-wide response,” Mr Barr says.
“But I would expect that the next stage of the response to the pandemic is a tougher set of restrictions before we would be in any position to consider relaxing them.
“What we are having to balance here is a long duration for these restrictions. The idea of a complete shut down of everything for say two weeks or four weeks [doesn’t] solve the problem. As soon as you unlock, it starts again, and I don’t think people understand that. It’s not a short term shut everything down and everything is fixed.
“This is what we’re already seeing in China, as they are starting unlocking, their cases are going back up again. They’ve got people from other parts of China, people returning to China, and their infection rates start again.”
Mr Barr says the next step will be tighter and will depend on evidence.
But, he says, the way to make this work is if people follow the general instructions and general guidance.
“We need people to observe common sense here. Stay one and a half metres from people wherever possible, reduce your risk wherever possible, undertake no unnecessary travel, stay at home as much as you possibly can and only go out when you absolutely have to,” he says.
“We recognise that people still need to undertake essential activities as part as their day-to-day life. People should be looking at, in making those decisions, is is my trip necessary? Do I need to be undertaking this activity now? Can I undertake it in a safe way? Can I reduce the risk to myself, to my family, to my friends, to my work colleagues?
“Our objective here is to slow the spread of the virus, and that is a straight-forward objective that we all have an interest in achieving.
“We need to do that in order to ensure that our health system can meet the demand as more people get sick and that we can slow the spread of this virus.
“We recognise the economic impact that this is having. That economic impact is deep and governments right across the country are working together to respond as best we can to those circumstances. There will be more that will be done in the coming weeks and months.”