The 5 Questions Australians Are Asking Most Right Now, Answered

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There are a lot of announcements being made in Australia in recent days and if you're not plugged into the news cycle, it can be hard to keep up with. Google search queries give us an idea of the information gaps in messaging related to coronavirus so here are the answers you are searching for.

What are non essential services?

In relation to new restrictions governments around Australia are implementing, the nation's top search query was what exactly is a 'non-essential' service.

It's a fair question the federal government has attempted to outline already. But for those people who couldn't make sense out of the confusing politician lingo, those services include:

  • pubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and night clubs
  • restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the one person per four square metre rule applies)

Excluded from that list are petrol stations, which will also be kept open, while the federal government's announcement leaves off any mention of retail. This means supermarkets and some department and other specialty stores, like IKEA and Bunnings, will continue to trade as usual.

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Are gyms closed in Australia?

Gyms have been listed as non-essential by the federal government and are therefore closed for the next four weeks, though the government has said it could last for four weeks.

Most gyms will honour membership freezes but it's best to check in with your gym to see what they're offering during the time.

Will Gyms Offer Membership Holds During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, said on the ABC’s Insiders program that we don't need to avoid going to the gym – yet. “I think the gym is fine, but everybody needs to practice good hygiene". Although he did recommend washing your hands, using hand sanitisers and taking other measures to practise good personal hygiene. But if you're still worried, you may decide that suspending your membership is a better option. But will your gym let you put your membership on hold during the coronavirus pandemic?

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What are essential services?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously said anything not listed under the 'non-essential' section will go ahead as normal. For clarity, however, a list of the following are considered essential services:

  • health care settings
  • pharmacies
  • food shopping
  • schools

How to access your superannuation early

Over the weekend, Treasurer Josh Frydenburg announced Australians would be able to access their super if they face significant financial difficulty due to the coronavirus shutdown as outlined in a new document.

"The Government recognises that for those significantly financially affected by the coronavirus, accessing some of their superannuation today may outweigh the benefits of maintaining those savings until retirement," the document reads.

"Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately three months (exact timing will depend on the passage of the relevant legislation)."

You'll need to head to myGov and check for your eligibility if you're considering applying for this option.

Are schools closed tomorrow in NSW?

On Monday morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that schools would remain open for parents or carers who were not able to keep children home but asked parents to keep their kids home where possible.

"For parents that have no option, for parents that are workers, school is safe for children to attend and schools will remain open," Berejiklian said.

It was also confirmed all schools would offer online learning for the remaining three weeks of term, which is set to finish on 9 April.

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