The first of July marks the start of a new month but this year, it will also bring something many have been waiting weeks for — a further easing of coronavirus restrictions in some parts of Australia.
Since mid-March, Australians have been encouraged — and at times, mandated — to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Going to the beach or getting brunch with friends was off the cards and even weekend trips to Bunnings and IKEA, while permitted, were frowned upon unless necessary.
From 1 July, changes across Australia will see a slight shift to how life was before the major shutdowns began. Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to host more than just a handful of people and taking a weekend road trip will once again be an option.
Of course, the threat of coronvirus hasn’t magically vanished. Even as authorities allow public events and venues to open their doors once more, physical distancing and rigorous personal hygiene will be pushed in order to limit the possibility of a second wave.
The restrictions that lift from 1 July
For now, however, the changes will be a welcome reprieve and a chance to shed some of the anxiety that comes with being locked up at home in the name of public good. With that in mind, here’s what we’ll now be able to do from 1 June.
Despite being the worst-affected state during the peak of Australia’s coronavirus outbreak, NSW has recorded very low daily infection numbers even after lifting restrictions in mid-May. As a result, changes from 1 July will allow:
- Kids’ sport and community sports competitions for those aged 18 years and under.
- Adult community sport.
- The number of people allowed inside indoor venues that can open will be determined by the one person per 4 square metre rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres. All activity must be seated only.
- Cultural and sporting events at outdoor venues with a maximum capacity of 40,000 will be allowed up to 25% of their normal capacity. Events must be ticketed and seated and follow strict guidelines.
Victoria is unfortunately facing an outbreak of cases, recording 75 new cases on 29 June. This means restrictions aren’t likely to let up any time soon until the situation improves.
Right now, the restrictions remain as follows but expect further changes if the outbreak continues to worsen:
- Have up to 5 visitors in your home at any one time, in addition to the normal residents of a household.
- Organise a public gatherings of up to 10 people in a public place.
- The limit will remain at a limit of 20 patrons per enclosed space.
- Groups of up to 10 people can dine or drink together. They can be seated at the same table.
- Tables must continue to be spaced so that there is 1.5 metres between seated patrons at neighbouring tables
- Alcohol can be served without a meal when seated.
- Bars, pubs, clubs, strip clubs and nightclubs are allowed to open for seated service only, with tables spaced 1.5 metres apart.
- Retail TABs and TAB facilities inside licensed premises may open.
- You are able to stay in a holiday home or private residence.
- You are also able to stay in tourist accommodation, including caravan parks and camping grounds.
- Tourist accommodation with shared and communal facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms will be open.
- The ski season will commence and accommodation in ski resorts will be open, subject to some restrictions.
The Victorian government provides a more comprehensive list on its site with further information on the restrictions.
In Queensland, nothing changes on 1 July. You’ll have to wait until 10 July for the next phase of restrictions to be lifted. For the moment, that will include raising the maximum person limit to 100 for:
- gatherings in public spaces and homes
- restaurants, cafés, pubs, registered and licensed clubs, RSL clubs, food courts and hotels
- indoor cinemas
- places of worship and religious ceremonies
- museums, art galleries and historic sites
- pools and community sports clubs
- community sport
- gyms, health clubs and yoga studios
- outdoor amusement parks, zoos and arcades
- concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums and stadiums
- saunas and bathhouses
- open homes and auctions
- casinos, gaming and gambling venues
- beauty therapy, tanning, nail salons and spas, tattoo parlours and non-therapeutic massage parlours
- hiking, camping and other recreational activities in national and state parks.
For Tasmanians, changes to restrictions already happened on 26 June. It’s expected the border restrictions stopping people from interstate will also be lifted on 24 July.
The current restrictions are as follows:
- Gatherings at households remain limited to up to 20 people at any one time, not including residents of the household
- 250 people for an undivided space in an indoor premises; and
- 500 people in an undivided space outdoors.
The following services are also allowed to re-open:
- Indoor amusement parks, play centres, arcades
- Saunas, spa baths, flotation tanks and bath houses
- Garage sales, car boot sales, second-hand goods sales
- Strip clubs
- Casinos and gaming venues
- Indoor zoos (in addition to predominately outdoor zoos)
- Markets and food vans at markets
- Provision of services to a person by a sex worker, within the meaning of the Sex Industry Offences Act 2005
- Food courts (now includes dine-in)
- Night clubs (for seated service of alcohol only).
South Australia has seen just a few cases of coronavirus over the past month, recording only a handful in May and June. As of 29 June, South Australia has entered its third phase of restrictions, focusing on a more simplified approach.
Now, there are no firm person limits of gatherings and activities and all businesses and services can re-open provided they abide by the new guidelines. Those guidelines mean private and public venues will need to ensure they don’t exceed one person per two square metres.
South Australia also planned to lift its border restrictions on 20 July but with the new outbreak in Victoria, it has decided to postpone those plans indefinitely. Those coming from Queensland, the Northern Territory, Tasmania or Western Australia don’t need to quarantine for 14 days but those travelling from Victoria, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory will still need to for now.
Western Australia is now in its fourth phase from 27 June. This means major sport and entertainment venues can now have hold 50 per cent capacity and you can even go to the pub without being forced to sit.
The following rules are now in place:
- all existing gathering limits and the 100/300 rule removed
- gathering limits only determined by WA’s reduced 2 square metre rule
- the 2 square metre rule will only include staff at venues that hold more than 500 patrons
- removal of seated service requirements at food businesses and licensed premises
- no requirement to maintain patron register at food businesses and licensed premises
- alcohol can be served as part of unseated service arrangements
- all events permitted except for large scale, multi-stage music festivals
- unseated performances permitted at venues such as concert halls, live music venues, bars, pubs and nightclubs
- gyms operating unstaffed, but regular cleaning must be maintained
- the casino gaming floor reopening under agreed temporary restrictions.
The next date penned for easing restrictions is 17 July, which would see the removal of gathering restrictions and stadium capacity limits. Border restrictions will remain in place for now given the Victorian outbreak.
“A tentative date for the removal of WA’s hard border was planned to be included as part of Phase 6, however, this was put on hold due to the rapidly evolving situation in Victoria,” the state government’s site reads.
“When an indicative date is set in the future, it will be contingent on locally acquired infection rates in the eastern states.”
The Northern Territory has managed to largely avoid the brunt of a coronavirus outbreak having under 50 cases in total since the outbreak began. Because of this, it moved into its final phase of easing the lockdowns starting 5 June, which saw almost everything return to normal apart from events with 500 or more people. Those still need prior permission and a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
It should be noted, non-residents will still need to undertake a 14-day self-quarantine unless deemed an essential worker.
As of 5 June, the third and final stage for now has meant the re-opening of more services and venues.
- Operate all licensed gaming activities including a TAB.
- Resume officiating, participating and supporting the playing of team sports such as football, basketball, soccer and netball.
- Attend any cinema or theatre, concert hall, music hall, dance hall, nightclub or any other similar entertainment venue in approved configuration.
- Attend an amusement venue.
- Attend a bar without food being consumed.
- Operate and access all previously restricted services at a place that provides beauty therapy and/or cosmetic services including facial care.
- Operate and access all previously restricted services at a place that provides tattooing or body art such as branding and piercing.
- Attend an amusement park, community centre, recreation centre or play centre.
- Attend an arena, stadium, sporting facility including community and sporting competitions with spectators in approved seating configuration. However, if above 500 people the event requires a separately approved COVID-19 Safety Plan.
- All businesses, facilities and services previously restricted can now resume ensuring adherence to key principles.
Australian Capital Territory
The current restrictions include:
- There will no longer be a limit on household visitation.
- All public gatherings (except for the hospitality sector) will be set at one person per 4 square metres for each indoor and outdoor space, up to a maximum of 100 people (including staff, trainers and spectators).
- For the hospitality sector (cafés, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs) gatherings will be set at 100 patrons for each indoor or outdoor space, or one person per 4 square metres, whichever is lesser. This limit excludes staff.
- Bars, pubs, and clubs will be able to serve patrons alcohol in groups of up to 10 patrons per booking or table without serving a meal. Patrons are to be seated.
- Full-contact training for sport, dance and martial arts is now allowed, as is circuit training.
- The following can open, observing the one per 4 square metre rule for up to 100 people (including staff) per indoor or outdoor space:
- Cinemas and movie theatres
- Open air drive-in cinemas (max. 100 vehicles)
- Indoor amusement centres, arcades, outdoor and indoor play centres; and
- Betting agencies.
- Further ease of measures, observing the one person per 4 square metre rule for up to 100 people (including staff) per indoor or outdoor space for:
- Gyms, health clubs, fitness or wellness centres, yoga, barre, pilates and spin facilities, boot camps and personal training
- Swimming pools
- Community sport and organised sporting activities
- Outdoor amusements and attractions
- Dance classes
- Choirs, bands and orchestras
- Weddings and funerals
- Personal services (beauty and nail salons, tattoo and body modification, tanning, waxing, spa and massage parlours)
- community and youth centres
- Caravan parks, campgrounds and camp sites; and
- Places of worship and religious ceremonies.
- Further ease of measures for galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites and libraries to allow for:
- One person per 4 square metres throughout the venue
- Organised tour groups of up to 20 people (excluding staff).
As always, just because you can go into a crowded venue doesn’t necessarily mean you should. It’s important to practice good judgement and hygiene and if a place looks packed, reconsider your need visit. Coronavirus will be with us for a long time so if we can do our best to avoid another wave of infections, we’ll be able to continue these little freedoms.