Coronavirus restrictions to be lifted in Australia’s Northern Territory state

Australia's beach. Photo: Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

CANBERRA, Apr 30, 2020, Outdoor weddings, funerals and even playgrounds will be back in business under a “new normal” strategy being prepared in every state and territory across Australia and one of the safest regions has predicted its plan will provide a template for the nation, reported.

It follows confirmation the NSW Government has a “secret matrix” for the risk assessment of which restrictions it wants to lift first, starting with returning to classrooms and home visits with new rules allowing two people to visit your home from tomorrow.

But in the Top End, the Northern Territory Government has released today a full exit strategy from COVID-19 restrictions — including to allow pubs to reopen with conditions in two weeks.

It’s the most comprehensive road map produced by any jurisdiction and Chief Minister Michael Gunner noted it had been prepared with extensive consultation with the national cabinet and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“So this weekend is set to be pretty great outdoors: parks, playgrounds, pools, camping, fishing, golfing … or getting married … take your pick really,’’ he said.

“Because being the safest in the nation means being the first in the nation to get back on track. Back to business, back to work, back to enjoying the great Territory lifestyle.”

There are just three infected patients in the Northern Territory and none is in intensive care.

Promising a “new normal” by early June, Mr Gunner said the Territory could offer a model for other parts of the nation.

But he stressed what would not change was the need to practise social distancing and improved hygiene, including washing your hands.

“It is physical distancing: a space of one and a half metres between you and people you don’t live with,’’ he said.

“I’m not asking you to walk around with a tape measure. I am asking you to use your head, use that Territory common sense and keep your distance.”

The outdoor areas where the restrictions will be loosened will include:

• Playgrounds, pools, water parks and skate parks

• Exercising and training outdoors, including personal training, boot camps and outdoor gym equipment

• Non-contact outdoor sports such as golf, tennis, shooting and athletics

• Outdoor gatherings, including religious gatherings, weddings and funerals

• Visiting parks and camping

• Fishing – you can fish with people not from your household, so long as physical distancing is maintained.

From tomorrow, Territorians will also be able to attend:

• Real estate open inspections and auctions.

• Gatherings in your home – with physical distancing.

On Friday, May 15, stage-two restrictions to be eased, including “simple and safe indoor events and activities that can be done in less than two hours and with physical distancing”.

That will include pubs and cafes but you will have to buy a meal rather than a beer.

Also set to open on May 15 are:

• Shopping centre food courts

• Gyms and other indoor training, such as F45 and Crossfit

• Pilates, yoga, dance lessons

• Indoor religious worship

• Libraries.

Mr Gunner said there would be a simple checklist to show how venues could adhere to physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning principles.

On Friday, June 5, Territorians can go back to the pub and the two-hour time limit on activities will be removed.

During this phase, all nail salons and casino gaming areas will reopen for business.

The requirement for food to be served at pubs and bars will end, and all remaining restrictions on beauty therapy and cosmetic services will be lifted.

Cinemas, nightclubs, and tattoo parlours will also reopen.

And all team sporting competitions such as footy, netball, soccer and basketball can return. That includes having spectators, but with physical distancing.

However, the key to the plan, Mr Gunner warned, was keeping the rest of Australia out.

“Putting the Territory first, means opening the borders will happen last, dead last,’’ he said.

“They’ll open when it is safe to do so, not a second sooner.

“I don’t want the second wave to come here. That’s why we are going to do this once and right, cautious and careful, step by step.”

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