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PM outlines three-stage plan to reopen Australia

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By Aline Rodrigues

The Federal Government has outlined a three-stage plan to gradually allow businesses to reopen, large gatherings and interstate travel by the end of July.

The National Cabinet met this Friday (8) to further discuss options for easing restrictions over the coming months, helping prepare Australians to go back to work in a COVID-19 safe environment and getting the economy back to a more sustainable level.

“Today, we move ahead with reopening our economy and our society, with a clear plan, and a clear framework, that shows Australians the road ahead,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The National Cabinet meetings with state and territory leaders will take place every three weeks to review the new resolution’s progress.

First Stage

Under the first stage, restaurants, cafes, shops, playgrounds and boot camps will reopen. Retail stores will also open, as well as child care centres, primary and secondary schools as per state and territory plans.

Universities and technical colleges are allowed to increase face-to-face where possible and prioritise hands-on, skills-based learning.

Explaining the plan, chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said that under stage one, cafes and restaurants would still have to keep by the 10-person limit, what means many “won’t be able to open”.

“But many doing takeaway may want to put up enough distance tables to start gently serving 10 people at a time,” he said, adding that the same limit applies to libraries and community centres.

Next stages

The second stage allows gatherings of up to 20 people and facilitates the reopening of businesses such as gyms, beauty services and entertainment venues – galleries and cinemas.

The third stage will see a transition to COVID-19 safe ways of living and working, with gatherings of up to 100 people permitted. Arrangements under stage 3 will be the ‘new normal’ while the virus remains a threat. International travel and mass gatherings over 100 people will remain restricted.

Still, regarding international travels, Mr Morrison said there are no plans to restart broader international journeys: “I can’t see it happening any time soon.”

In addition, the Prime Minister clarified that states and territories are able to move between the steps on the pathway at different times, in line with their current public health situation and local conditions.

Commitment from Australians

The National Cabinet was very clear about the continued suppression of COVID-19 is about collective action.

“For this reason, success depends on maintaining the new community norms – physical distancing, good hygiene practices and downloading the COVIDSafe app to keep everyone safe while we are out and about.”

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