‘Careless’ shopping may close stores

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Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith… “It’s your responsibility to take a step back or say maybe I’ll come later.”

AFTER Canberrans crowded shopping centres across the ACT on the weekend, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said shops will only stay open if people aren’t careless.

“Shops will stay open to people and available as long as we can continue to move forward with our easing of restrictions and not have to go back because people have been careless and we see a spike in new cases,” said Ms Stephen-Smith this afternoon (May 11). 

There were a number of occasions where police were out over the weekend reminding people about the physical distancing requirements, and in light of this Ms Stephen-Smith has warned Canberrans that it only takes on person with undetected COVID-19 to start a new chain of transmission.

She said: “Please maintain your distance and don’t try and rush into public spaces where other people are gathered. If there’s lots of people around, avoid the space and come back later.

“It’s your responsibility to take a step back or say maybe I’ll come later and not be part of a gathering that’s larger than what we’ve really considered to be appropriate at this stage of pandemic in terms of managing risk,” she said. 

“We only have to look at what has happened in some other jurisdictions, particularly in Victoria, to understand how quickly a new cluster of cases can emerge. This is not over and one false move can undermine what we have achieved so far.

“You need to think: ‘What should I do if I have the virus and don’t know about it?’ That’s the way you should be acting, is as if you have the virus but don’t know about it yet and you don’t want to give it to anybody else.”

Police also had to break up a few larger groups of people who were playing sport over the weekend, according to Ms Stephen-Smith, who reminded the community that organised sport is still restricted to two people under the current virus directions. 

ACT police will be making an announcement on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic tomorrow.

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