CORONAVIRUS: LATEST STATEMENTS FROM GOVERNMENTS
STUDENT-FREE DAYS FOR QUEENSLAND STATE SCHOOLS FROM NEXT WEEK
26 March 2020
Queensland schools will go student-free next week, as the state’s education system continues to work to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Schools will remain open until the end of term on April 3, to allow for the children of essential workers to remain at school and for teachers to prepare to move to remote learning from home.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said while the advice from the Chief Health Officers was that schools could remain open, they need to start preparing for a potential closure in the coming weeks.
FURTHER STATEMENT ON HAIRDRESSERS, BARBERS AND FUNERALS FROM NATIONAL CABINET
The instruction regarding hairdressers and barbers being limited to 30-minute appointments has been lifted by National Cabinet, but the 4sqm rule per person must be strictly observed within the premises. personal contact during the patron’s visit should be minimised wherever possible. Also, in hardship cases, States and Territories can provide exemptions in relation to attendance at funerals, but only at the margin.
CAMPGROUNDS IN NATIONAL PARKS, STATE FORESTS AND STATE-MANAGED RECREATION AND PROTECTED AREAS TO CLOSE
25 March 2020
All campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state-managed recreation and protected areas will close, in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.
State Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said closures would come into effect from 26 March to help protect the health and safety of campers, the wider community and Queensland Park and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers and staff.
This includes camping areas at K’gari (Fraser Island), Inskip Point, Cooloola Coast, Moreton Bay Islands, and all other national parks and forests across the state where camping is permitted.
Day-use areas, tracks and trails will remain open at this stage and social distancing rules will still apply. The closure of camping grounds does not include residential caravan parks.
She reiterated the Premier's call for Queenslanders to cancel their Easter break plans and stay close to home.
People who have camp sites booked will receive a full refund for unused camping permits - see des.qld.gov.au for more.
Changes to SEQ public transport to promote better social distancing
25 March 2020
All public transport commuters in South East Queensland will need to use a Go Card or pay for tickets using station fare machines from today. Passengers will no longer have the option to pay cash on trains, trams, ferries and buses - this will promote better social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic and speed-up boarding and reduce contact between drivers and passengers.
Noosa Council says public transport in Noosa is an essential service and running on schedule, however, non-essential travel should be avoided. Cleaning has been increased across all modes of public transport with operators sanitising buses, trains, trams and ferries on a daily basis.
PM ANNOUNCES FURTHER RESTRICTIONS
24 March 2020
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced further measures around social distancing and business restrictions after a meeting of the National Cabinet. He said Australians should stay at home, unless shopping for essentials, travelling to and from work - where you cannot work from home, going to school and exercising.
Keep visitors to your home at a minimum. In outdoor spaces do not congregate in groups.
The Commonwealth Government will implement a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015.
Additional prohibited activities now include:
- Real estate auctions, open house inspections and auction houses
- Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours
- Spas and massage rooms
- Play centres (indoor and outdoor)
- Amusement parks and arcades
- Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums
- Boot camps and personal training sessions are limited to a maximum of 10 people with strict social distancing rules observed.
- Weddings can be conducted with no more than five people, including the couple, the celebrant and the witnesses. The 4sqm rule and social distancing must be observed.
National Cabinet reiterated that practising good hygiene and keeping a healthy, physical distance between individuals is our most powerful weapon in fighting this virus and saving lives.
Queensland Government unveils $4 billion package
24 March 2020
The Queensland Government will invest an additional $4 billion in measures to support Queenslanders’ health, their jobs and businesses. Key points include:
- $300m household relief package will give households $200 off their utility bills
- Two months' worth of payroll tax will be immediately refunded to businesses
- Three-month payroll tax holiday for small and medium businesses
- A further six-month payroll tax deferral for these businesses
- $500m to assist workers who lose their job or income and help them find jobs in vital industries
- Waiving liquor licensing fees for venues that have had to close their doors
- Giving sole traders, small and medium businesses a $500 rebate on their power bill
- An extra $1.2b to expand fever clinics, emergency department capacity, acute care services and regional aeromedical services for remote communities
- An online portal on business.qld.gov.au for businesses to apply for payroll tax relief
What can and can't stay open?
23 March 2020
As of 23 March, based on latest information from Australian and State Government:
- Most businesses, including major retailers and department stores, can continue to run if they comply with social-distancing guidelines.
- Cafes and restaurants will be able to operate, but only to offer takeaway and delivery services.
- Hotels will be allowed to offer accommodation.
- The following businesses are essential and will remain open:
- Petrol stations
- Convenience stores
- Freight and logistics
- Food delivery
- Bottle shops
QUEENSLAND CLOSES ITS BORDERS
23 March 2020
The Queensland Government will close the state's borders beginning midnight Wednesday. The initial stage will force anyone entering Queensland to quarantine themselves for 14 days after arrival. Freight is expected to be exempt from the restrictions.
SUPPLY OF TAKEAWAY ALCOHOL BY LICENSED RESTAURANTS AND CAFES
23 March 2020
Licensed restaurants and cafes that will supply takeaway food and that hold a current liquor licence can supply takeaway alcohol or delivery, subject to the following conditions announced by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation Queensland:
- The takeaway alcohol can only be supplied in conjunction with a takeaway food order
- The takeaway alcohol can only consist of bottled or canned beer, wine, cider and ready-to-drink beverages, such as premixed spirits
- A maximum limit of 2.25 litres of alcohol applies and can only be sold in conjunction with a takeaway food order (that is up to 2.25 litres per food order).
Council facilities to close indefinitely
23 March 2020
Noosa Council-run facilities will close indefinitely from midday Monday 23 March in line with the Federal Government’s new requirements to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The closure includes:
- Noosa Aquatic Centre (the NAC)
- Noosa Leisure Centre
- Butter Factory Cooroy
- Noosa Regional Gallery
- The J
- Noosa Library Service (Cooroy, Noosaville and Mobile Libraries).
Group and centre-based activities at Noosa Community Support have already ceased.
Licensed clubs, pubs, indoor sporting and religious venues to close - restaurants and cafes restricted to takeaway
22 March 2020
The Prime Minister says licensed clubs, (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation), pubs, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs, gyms, indoor sporting venues and places of worship will close from midday on Monday, 23 March 2020. Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery.
Commonwealth Government's second stimulus package supports workers and business
22 March 2020
The Commonwealth Government has released the second stage of its economic plan to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus and help recovery. A total of $189 billion is being injected into the economy by all arms of Government in order to keep Australians in work and businesses in business.
This includes $17.6 billion for the Government’s first economic stimulus package, $90 billion from the RBA and $15 billion from the Government to deliver easier access to finance, and $66.1 billion in the second economic support package which includes:
- Support for households including casuals, sole-traders, retirees and those on income support
- Assistance for businesses to keep people in a job - up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not‑for-profits, with a minimum
payment of $20,000.
- Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business
- Early release of superannuation
- Boosting cash flow for employers including tax-free payment to employers equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld
- Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business, including the new Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme
- Providing temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
Statement from PM Scott Morrison - New Indoor Gathering limits
20 March 2020
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a four square metre rule for gatherings of less than 100 people.
Statement from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk - National Cabinet update
18 March 2020
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urges cooperation and says it's time for important decisions to be made after meeting last night with the National Cabinet - she says the impacts of Coronavirus will take at least six months to get through, and maybe longer.
Indoor gatherings of more than 100 banned | advice not to travel overseas
18 March 2020
The Federal Government bans non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and they are advising Australians not to travel overseas indefinitely.
Indoor gatherings must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between patrons, and hand hygiene products and suitable waste receptacles need to be available, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal.
Outdoor events of fewer than 500 attendees may proceed. In a given occupied space, there must be no more than one person per four square metres of ground space.
$500m loans to support workers
17 March 2020
The Queensland Government is offering $500m in loans to support workers in businesses affected by coronavirus. The loan facility will comprise loans of up to $250,000 with an initial 12-month interest-free period for businesses to retain staff. The 6-month payroll tax deferral (see details below) has been extended to all affected businesses across the state.
Information on the concessional loans will be available at qrida.qld.gov.au from the end of this week.
Information on payroll tax deferral can be found at osr.qld.gov.au
Events in lockdown
13 March 2020
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces that mass gatherings of 500 people or more will be restricted, with formal guidelines warning all “non-essential” events be banned from Monday 16 March 2020.
National Cabinet endorses further Coronavirus measures
16 March 2020
The National Cabinet, comprising the Prime Minister, State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers has endorsed further Coronavirus measures to reduce community transmission including:
14-day self-isolation for anyone arriving in Australia, whether citizens, residents or visitors.
Enhanced screening for international arrivals.
The introduction of social distancing measures to stop or slow the spread of infection - less contact between you and other people.
No requirement for schools to close at this time.
New Australian Government Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit
15 March 2020
The Australian Government has announced the creation of a new Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit in Treasury to build on existing efforts to support confidence, employment and business continuity. The Unit will engage with peak business groups on systemic issues relating to Coronavirus to ensure these are being addressed by Government. If you want to connect into this process, you should get in touch with your relevant industry association in the first instance.
Federal Government launches campaign to inform Australians about Coronavirus
14 March 2020
A national campaign has launched to inform all Australians about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), aimed at slowing its spread.
PM announces $17.6 billion coronavirus package - $1 billion for tourism
12 March 2020
The Prime Minister announces a $17.6 billion stimulus package to aid Australia’s economic recovery in the wake of the Coronavirus, $1 billion of which has been set aside to support regions and communities that are heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education. This will include:
- Additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or supply chains; and
- Targeted measures to further promote domestic tourism.