Social distancing rules explained
Australia's strict new coronavirus social distancing rules explained
Posted on 01.04.2020
Scott Morrison has tightened physical distancing restrictions, but how they are applied will be determined by each state. Find out what’s illegal, and what happens if you break the law.
On Sunday night (March 29), the prime minister announced the tightening of restrictions to try to stop the spread of Covid-19, gatherings are limited to a maximum of two people. But several states have gone much further while others have opted not to follow the new recommendations.
So what are the laws as they currently stand?
Queensland has announced a state of emergency, and along with enforcing the two-person limit, residents are now only allowed to leave their home for one of eight essential reasons. These are:
- Obtaining food or other essential goods or services.
- Obtaining medical treatment or other healthcare services.
- Engaging in physical exercise, either alone or in the company of no more than one other person; or in the company of a family group who ordinarily live in the same household.
- Performing work on behalf of an employer that is engaged in essential business, activity or undertaking, and the work to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s principal place of residence.
- Visiting a terminally ill relative or to attend a funeral.
- Providing assistance, care or support to an immediate member of the person’s family.
- Attending any court of Australia or to comply with or give effect to orders of the court.
- Attending a childcare facility, school, university or other educational institution, to the extent care or instruction cannot reasonably be obtained in the person’s principal place of residence.
Queensland also restricts gatherings of more than two people. This applies both in public and private area but exempts members of the same household.
This means someone can still socialise with the family or roommates they live with, but if there are more than two people in the home, no visitors are allowed.
If someone lives alone they are allowed one social guest. That guest is allowed to leave their home to visit.
If someone leaves their house for an essential reason, such as exercise, they can be joined by only one other person or the members of their household.
Queensland police officers will be able to issue on-the-spot fines of $1,334.50 for individuals and $6,672.50 for corporations, who breach these laws. The maximum penalties available through the courts will be 10 times those amounts.
Those arriving in Queensland from other states are required to undertake a 14-day quarantine, as well as returning Queensland residents who have been to areas deemed to be “Covid-19” hotspots in Australia.
There are some exemptions for those who regularly cross the Queensland-NSW border for work.
This article will be updated as new laws are implemented or repealed.
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