Following today’s meeting of National Cabinet, Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined in a press conference what step three of the country’s dialled-back lockdown restrictions will involve. While step three is scheduled to come into effect in July, it is up to each individual state and territory to decide when they implement it. Morrison began by explaining that the country is aiming for “suppression”, not complete elimination of the virus.
“If we are able to achieve elimination or eradication as a by-product then that’s well and good, but we are not going to have our policies trapped by the goal of eradication,” he said.
Step three will see the 100-person limit on indoor gatherings lifted in favour of the four-square-metre rule. The rule will apply per room, meaning a larger number of people can be admitted to funerals and religious services. Stadiums that can seat fewer than 40,000 people will be allowed to reopen at 25 per cent capacity. However, nightclubs will remain closed, and standing-only events (Morrison used folk festivals as an example) are also off the cards for now.
The prime minister also doubled down on his warnings against protests planned for this weekend, and was backed up by chief medical officer Brendan Murphy. “These sort of events really are dangerous and the AHPPC [Australian Health Protection Principal Committee] and all the state chief health officers and our experts released a statement yesterday pleading with the population to not attend those uncontrolled mass events,” said Murphy.