Coronavirus crackdown to force mass closures of pubs, clubs, churches and indoor sporting venues – Politics
A major crackdown on gatherings will see the closure of indoor venues, including pubs, clubs, sporting and religious venues from midday tomorrow in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to offer takeaway services. Schools will also remain open.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed people who crammed onto beaches and into pubs and clubs at the weekend, and said it forced the nation’s leaders to impose harsher rules.
“When we all do not do the right thing, then it has real implications for others,” he said.
The new measures were agreed to at National Cabinet, which includes the Prime Minister, premiers and chief ministers, during a late Sunday evening meeting.
Mr Morrison warned they were the first stage, and future closures would result if people continued to ignore social distancing requirements.
He warned the closures could continue for six months.
“I am deeply regretful that those workers and those business owners, who will be impacted by this decision, will suffer the economic hardship that undoubtably they will now have to face,” Mr Morrison said.
“That is a very, very regretful decision.”
The crackdown comes as Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT move to shut down non-essential services in the next 48 hours.
Western Australia and South Australia will also close their borders in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
It comes after the Federal Government announced a $66 billion second-stage economic stimulus package aimed at buffering businesses and workers from the spreading health pandemic.
“We need all the Australians to be following the health advice when it comes to keeping a healthy distance and observing the limits that relate to gatherings, whether they be outdoor or whether they be indoor,” Mr Morrison said.
“This is incredibly important.
“The failure of our public to do that will put people at risk and make it extremely difficult for governments to be able to take actions that can control the flow and spread of this virus.”
Schools to remain open
Mr Morrison said the health advice had not changed and that students should go to school on Monday.
Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said the consensus view of the nation’s health officials was that schools should remain open.
Victoria has brought forward its Easter school holidays. They will now begin on Tuesday.
In the ACT, its schools are moving towards online classes.
“Parents who make the decision for the children to remain at home must take responsibility for those children,” Mr Morrison said.
“Those children are staying at home, it is not an excuse for them to go down to the shopping centre or to go and congregate somewhere else, or potentially put themselves in contact with the vulnerable and elderly population.
“If you choose to keep your child at home, you are responsible for the conduct and behaviour of your children.”