Statement: ACT Chief Minister

Released 12/05/2020

The ACT will continue careful implementation of the measures outlined in step one of the COVID Safe Plan endorsed by National Cabinet last week, with new Directions set to be in place from midnight Friday 15 May.

This includes lifting restrictions on cafes and restaurants, allowing venues to seat up to 10 patrons at one time if they can follow physical distancing. This is the first, small recovery step for the industry and it is understood that it will only be economic for a small proportion of businesses. The number of patrons will be gradually increased over the coming months in line with the national plan, making it economic for more businesses over time.

Local hospitality businesses are encouraged to only reopen if the model works for them. Choosing to remain take-away only for now will have no impact on their ability to consider reopening as the maximum seated occupancy increases in the coming months.

This measure will provide learnings from those that choose to open under these restrictions as we continue to work with the hospitality industry on their COVID-safe transition plan.

For a full list of the measures to be introduced from midnight on Friday 15 May, visit the ACT’s COVID-19 website.

The advice from public health experts is that the safest and easiest way to reach a more sustainable level of restrictions in our community is to ease them gradually.

There were examples over the weekend of people pushing the boundaries, and placing themselves at risk by not following physical distancing guidance. Lifting all the restrictions outlined in step one of the framework at once could have led to even more examples of this kind of behaviour.

We know people are excited to leave their homes, but for the time being, we still have to hold back on the activities that we used to do over the weekend.

Staying at home as much as possible and avoiding large crowds is still the best way to protect yourself, and your family, from any potential risk of infection.

We again ask Canberrans to remember four requirements in any situation they face in the coming weeks:

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

By doing these four things, Canberrans will be supporting the Government’s efforts to keep people safe and out of our hospitals.

The Government will monitor the impact of these changes on COVID-19 case numbers, as well as the impact of changes made in other jurisdictions, before considering further amendments to the current public health directions.

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases

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