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The Government Has Introduced New Restrictions on Non-Essential Indoor Events Under 100 People

A limit of one person per four square metres has been recommended, which will impact nightclubs, restaurants and pubs.
By Samantha Teague
March 20, 2020
By Samantha Teague
March 20, 2020

For the third time in seven days, the Australian Government has introduced new restrictions on non-essential mass gatherings. On Friday, March 13, a ban on outdoor mass gatherings over 500 people was introduced, and was followed by a ban on non-essential indoor events of over 100 people on Wednesday, March 18.

The latest, announced this afternoon, Friday, March 20, by Prime Minister Scott Morrison concerns non-essential indoor events of less than 100 people. A limit of one person per four square metres has been recommended by the Australian Government and Chief Health Minister.

Airports, public transport, age care, correctional facilities, law courts, parliaments, food markets, supermarkets, office buildings, factories, mining sites, hotels, motels, schools, universities and transit spots — such as Bourke Street Mall, Martin Place — are considered 'essential', but cafes, pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, bars and cinemas (ones that are not already closed) will need to adhere to the new limits, the Prime Minister has today revealed.

It's not clear how and if these limits will be enforced, but it's likely many venues will need to introduce new limits on capacity. With hospitality venues across the country closing and becoming takeaway-only already, it's also likely these new restrictions will lead to even more closing their doors, at least temporarily.

The Prime Minister has also encouraged essential gatherings to adhere to the new guidelines, saying if it's done so more broadly we have a greater chance of "flattening the curve" (the term adapted for reducing the exponential spread of COVID-19, as shown by this graph). He has also, once again, pressed Australians to practise social distancing.

It's predicted the above measures will be in place for "at least the next six months". For now, the bans on non-essential gatherings are in place indefinitely.

A limit on one person per four square metres is now recommended for all non-essential indoor gatherings of fewer than 100 people. The Australia-wide bans on non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people on non-essential outdoor events of more than 500 people are still in place.

To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

Top image: Kitti Gould

Published on March 20, 2020 by Samantha Teague


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