Statement: ACT Chief Minister

Released 25/03/2020

Following decisions made at National Cabinet yesterday evening, the ACT Government will be introducing further tough restrictions on social and community activities to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

These difficult decisions must be made now to slow the spread of the virus in the Canberra region. This is essential at this time.

The National Cabinet is fully aware that the implementation of these tough stage 2 restrictions will result in more Canberrans losing their jobs.

At this time, with so much to absorb, many are wondering what comes next. I need to be clear that this is likely to be further restrictions rather than fewer.

I have outlined that the ACT will be following the directions from National Cabinet, but we will also be aligning with NSW wherever possible on the shutting down of non-essential services to protect public health.

We simply can not afford to have different rules for Canberra than the rules in our surrounding region.

Given the situation in NSW, we can expect that it’s only a matter of time before these further restrictions come into place. They will be tougher and they will hurt. But they will save lives.

Right now, our country is in a race against time to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

The evidence before us from other countries around the world is that if the curve doesn’t flatten, more people will die. We don’t want our doctors and nurses to have to make decisions on who they can treat, and who they can’t, because too many people are sick at the one time.

That is not a consequence I am willing to let happen.

Life as we have come to expect will change, and it will be like this for many months.

I can assure Canberrans that we are working desperately hard to ensure they have access to the services they need - supermarkets will stay open as will pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, post offices and animal welfare services. We will keep the power on, and the water running.

We will do this so Canberrans can stay at home, and that’s what we all need to do now. For the foreseeable future there is no social occasion, no party, no celebration or family get together that is a higher priority than the lives of the people around us.

The sacrifices we are making now will be difficult, and we will need to adapt.

I am asking Canberrans to help each other and take care of each other.

The full list of restrictions is now available from the ACT Health website, Businesses seeking advice about their situation can call the Business Liaison team on (02) 6205 0900.

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases

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