Statement: ACT Chief Minister


Released 08/05/2020

Since the start of the pandemic, Canberrans have played their role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Staying at home as much as possible and avoiding non-essential travel has proven to be highly effective in flattening the curve.

This pandemic is not over though.

There are still active cases of the virus across Australia, and that is likely to continue well into the future. Until there is a vaccine, there will be a higher level of risk management in our lives to ensure we can manage outbreaks.

With the ACT’s COVID-19 testing blitz showing little evidence of undetected cases in the Territory, and more capacity now available in our health system, the ACT can join other State and Territory Governments in relaxing some of the most stringent measures currently in place.

In this next phase of our response,  it will be essential for all Canberrans to remember the following four requirements:

  • Avoid large crowds - gather in groups of no more than 10 people
  • Keep 1.5 metres apart
  • Continue good hand hygiene
  • Stay home if you are sick and get tested if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms

The ACT Public Health Directions will be updated from midnight this evening so that gatherings, whether they are indoor, or outdoor, should be no greater than ten people. When gathering in groups, physical distancing must be maintained at all times.

With Mother’s day coming up this weekend, many families will be looking forward to gathering together under these new restrictions. These gatherings must be small in line with the ten person requirement.  It is also important that any visiting family members continue to keep 1.5 metres apart and maintain the one person per 4 square metre guideline.

Exceptions will be in place in the rare circumstances where more than ten people usually reside in a household. There will also be an allowance for larger families to meet where one household visiting another household results in more than ten people in the premises. For those larger families coming from a maximum of two households, the one person per 4 square metres and 1.5m physical distancing must be maintained.

These new public health directions acknowledge the impact that social isolation has on our wellbeing.

It’s important, however, for Canberrans to be aware that the easing of restrictions on gatherings is not a licence to bring together people from multiple households for a party. House parties with people from multiple households could undermine all that we have achieved.

Older Canberrans and those more susceptible to respiratory conditions should continue to exercise caution and limit their interaction with other people.

A small number of changes to the operation of weddings, funerals, boot camps, open home inspections and real estate auctions will also be introduced from midnight. Further details on these changes are available from the ACT’s COVID-19 website.

Over the coming weeks and months, Canberrans can expect that the easing of restrictions will be done in a very gradual way – allowing our public health experts to assess the impact of each decision.

The ACT Government will be working through the measures outlined in step one of the Framework for a COVID Safe Australia endorsed by the National Cabinet.

Having to reintroduce restrictions on personal and business activity would be devastating and the ACT will very carefully consider each measure before lifting restrictions.

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases


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