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PM's plan to lift virus restrictions by July


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a three-stage plan aimed at lifting coronavirus restrictions across the country by July.

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Australia’s first phase of relaxing coronavirus restrictions will reopen cafes, restaurants and shops, with public gatherings of up to 10 people allowed.

The national cabinet has released a three-phase plan, with states and territories to determine which level they adopt.

Under the first step, people will work from home only if it suits them and their employer and home visits of up to five people will be allowed.

Libraries, community centres, playgrounds and fitness boot camps will restart, along with auctions and local and regional travel.

“This is the plan for a COVID-safe Australia,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.

He said Treasury predicted the move would restore 850,000 jobs in coming months.

The second phase will allow gatherings of up to 20 people, with gyms, beauty therapists, cinemas, theatres, amusement parks, galleries and museums to reopen.

Some interstate travel is expected during that stage.

Federal and state governments have agreed to a July target for implementing the third and final stage of the plan.

The easing of the third tranche of restrictions will allow gatherings of up to 100 people, more widespread returns to work, and examine reopening travel to New Zealand.

Food courts, saunas and interstate travel will be allowed.

National cabinet will review the measures every three weeks.

Aside from New Zealand, international borders will not be reopened in the near future and strict quarantine measures for people entering the country will remain in place.

Morrison said the fear of going backwards should not stop the country from moving forwards.

“We know we need to be careful to preserve our gains. If we wish to reclaim the ground we lost, we cannot be too timid,” he said.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy urged Australians to stick to the strict physical distancing measures which have seen infections plummet.

“Please, keep that distancing. We could lose the battle that we have won so well so far,” he said.

Stage One of the plan will allow:

Five visitors allowed at home

* Gatherings of up 10 in business and public places

* Work from home if it works for you and your employer

* Small restaurants, cafes and shopping open

* Home sales and in-person auctions resume

* Children back in classrooms

* Libraries, community centres, playgrounds and outdoor boot camps open

* Local and regional travel resume


* Gatherings of 20 people in your home, business and public places

* Work from home if it works for you and your employer

* Gyms, beauty, cinemas, galleries and amusement parks open with COVID-safe plans

* Organised community sport allowed

* Caravan and camping grounds reopen

* Some interstate travel

* States and territories may allow larger numbers in some circumstances


* Gatherings of up to 100 people

* Return to workplaces

* Pubs, clubs, nightclubs, food courts, saunas and some gaming venues open

* All interstate travel resumes

* Consider cross-Tasman, Pacific island and international students travel

* States and territories may allow larger numbers in some circumstances

Australia currently has 6899 COVID-19 infections and 97 deaths.

Six of eight states have had zero new cases for multiple days and there have been 5.4 million downloads of the COVIDSafe app.

-with AAP

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