AFTER getting to a point where there are no active coronavirus cases in the ACT, a point that ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr couldn’t have even envisioned in some of the best-case scenarios, this afternoon (May 1) he announced some easing of restrictions – sort of.
Mr Barr said restrictions on gatherings inside the family home will be relaxed to allow families of two adults, and now all their children, to visit someone else. Prior to this, he said only two people could visit another household.
And, with travel restrictions eased in NSW, Canberrans can now travel outside of the Canberra region to visit family and friends in small groups while maintaining physical distancing.
“[But] travel outside of the Canberra region should be carefully considered, as someone bringing the virus into the territory from interstate remains one of the biggest threats to the ACT,” he said.
Even though retailers have been allowed to stay open throughout this entire pandemic, Mr Barr said Canberrans will also be allowed to leave their home for non-essential shopping purposes.
“We want to support retail stores as they reopen, whilst of course, maintaining appropriate physical distancing inside retail stores,” he said.
“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.”
And although Mr Barr said Canberra is positioned well, he reminded people that this is not over.
“Until there is a vaccine there is always a risk that we can return to unsustainable daily increases,” he said.
“I am very worried about the risk of a second wave, a third wave, a fourth wave. This virus will continue to circulate around the globe. There’s no immunity, there’s no vaccine so that’s why every step we take has to be 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 rather than if they do.”
The new easing of restrictions will come into place at midnight.
Mr Barr said further work is continuing within the National Cabinet on business activity restrictions and physical distancing advice.
“National Cabinet will meet next Tuesday and next Friday, and more details in relation to the national baselines on public restrictions will be updates following those meetings,” he said.
“So the next round of gradual change will be announced in one week’s time.
“There will be more flexibility in relation to outdoor activities than indoor ones, and this will be a very gradual and staged approach.”