THE ACT will enforce the tougher restrictions announced tonight (March 29) by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help slow the spread of COVID-19 nationally.
The measures, including further limiting public gatherings to just two people, have been introduced to limit the spread of the virus before the healthcare system is overwhelmed.
People aged 70 and over are expected stay at home as much as possible to reduce infection risk.
“It is the best advice we can provide to avoid the more serious consequences from the virus. However, this does not mean that over 70s cannot leave their homes. They should exercise caution though, and avoid crowds, and maintain physical distancing wherever possible,” says Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
Playgrounds, skateparks, outdoor fitness stations and outdoor barbecues across the ACT will be closed.
Barr says critical work to increase capacity in the ACT’s hospitals is continuing, but there will insufficient doctors, nurses, or medical equipment to help everyone if the spread of the virus increases exponentially.
He says that the government is requiring Canberrans to only leave their homes for:
- shopping for what you need – food and necessary supplies
- medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements
- exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
- work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely
He warns that the ACT, along with the other states and territories, will move to implement stronger enforcement measures in the near future (such as fines) to ensure consistency across jurisdictions.
The ACT will also join other state and territory governments to implement a short-term, temporary moratorium on eviction for the non-payment of rent due to COVID-19. This will ensure that Canberrans who are renting (residential or commercial) and can’t pay their rent because of COVID-19 will not be evicted for six months.
Landlords are asked to work with any affected tenants to provide rent relief through temporary amendments to leases. The financial cost of these temporary measures will be shared between governments, banks, landlords and tenants.
The ACT and Commonwealth governments will forgo tax revenue to make this temporary arrangement work.
However, landlords who receive federal and territory government tax relief will be expected to pass this through to tenants suffering financial stress. The tax reductions will only be available for those who participate.
The ACT government will finalise its second package of economic survival measures following the Commonwealth’s announcement.