Australia’s govt to form plan to roll back bans on large indoor gatherings

Scott Morrison has been under pressure for taking a holiday during thr bushfire crisis. Picture Kym Smith. Source:News Corp Australia. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

CANBERRA, Jun 25, 2020, The Age. State governments are poised to further relax social distancing restrictions despite Victoria’s struggles with a rise in COVID-19 cases, as the entertainment industry attempts to restart live shows, pub gigs and concerts after almost three months of strict lock-down measures, The Age reported.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Friday seek approval from national cabinet to formalise a timetable to peel back strict guidelines on indoor gatherings, giving greater certainly to the entertainment sector to better plan their path forward and restart businesses.

Mr Morrison and state and territory leaders will also canvass the return of international students, the reopening of state borders following the outbreak in Victoria, and hotel quarantine arrangements

Mr Morrison said there were “a few challenges” in Melbourne following a recent uptick of cases, with many linked to hotel quarantine from returned overseas travellers.

Announcing a $250 million support package for the arts sector on Thursday, Mr Morrison said there would continue to be outbreaks and challenges.

“And what can’t happen is we can’t go ‘stop, go, stop, go’,” Mr Morrison said.

“We can’t flick the light on and off and on and off and on and off and on and off. That would be very difficult for the artists, the producers who are bringing together productions, to have that uncertainty hanging over them.”

Mr Morrison said states were working well through their three-step plan, which the group had resolved last month would be completed in July.

He said all states were “largely” on track and health authorities had built in protections to deal with outbreaks.

Mr Morrison said the decision to send Australian Defence Force resources to Victoria would be afforded to any state in the event of a second wave.

“When I spoke to Premier Andrews the other night and he sought that support from the ADF and it was provided immediately, I got straight onto the phone to General Campbell and we threw the plan into action,” Mr Morrison said.

“If that’s what it takes then that’s what we’ll do, because that’s what’s going to keep people in jobs.”

He said authorities can respond to outbreaks and despite the events of recent days in Victoria, the nation was still dealing with COVID-19 “better than almost any country in the world”.

“That’s got to give us confidence to be able to move ahead, whether it’s in this sector or any of the other sectors,” he said.

“But there will be sectors that will be hard hit for longer.”

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