Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed a three-step plan for the easing of Coronavirus restrictions around the country, including provisions for entertainment, fitness, sport and other recreational activities.
Following a national cabinet meeting with state premiers earlier today, Prime Minister Morrison announced that Australians will be allowed to have five visitors at home and 10 people will be allowed to gather in businesses and public places under stage one of the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions being lifted.
Restaurants and cafes meeting these requirements will also be able to reopen, as will libraries, community centres, playgrounds and exercise boot camps. Travel within states for non-essential reasons will also be allowed.
Presenting a three-step route, which he said states and territories will progress through at their own pace, Prime Minister Morrison also paid attention to sport and physical activity, but insisted that exactly when sport returns is “up to the states and territories”.
He advised that states "will have to outline their plans. Under Step 1, should the states move on that in their jurisdictions, (sport) training would be able to occur for those types of sports
“That can be happening under Step 1, and in many places that would already be happening.”
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy also revealed that more competitive sport will start returning under ‘Step 2’ when groups of up to 20 can participate, noting "Step 2 has sport in groups of 20. And, again, more work will be done. It may well be possible for some competition to occur then.
“Step 2 is still being worked through. But in Step 1, people can train in groups of 10. We want that to happen.”
Step 1 is described as the important small measures to get Australians connected with friends and family once again.
It also allows Australians to return to outdoor sport and physical activity being able to again use community centres, outdoor gyms, playgrounds and skate parks – as long as they maintain groups of up to 10 people.
Swimming pools will also be opened with restrictions.
However, considering Coronavirus seems to be spreading far more rapidly indoors, the Federal Government has declared no indoor physical activity will be happening under Step 1, including gyms.
The next, 'Step 2', phase will allow slightly larger gatherings and a return to slightly higher risk activities with tight restrictions.
Step 2 will allow up to 20 people to attend cinemas, concert venues, museums and galleries while also enabling up to 20 people to participate in outdoor sport and recreational activity within the Australian Institute of Sport's Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment.
Step 2 also allows for caravan parks and campgrounds to fully reopen. ‘Step 3’ will see businesses and the community will opened up again with minimal restrictions.
Prime Minister Morrison said that, ideally, Step 3 will be reached by July, and that all sport venues should be allowed to operate with gatherings of up to 100 people during this stage.
Community sport will also be greatly expanded.
Professor Murphy also said “full Level C of the AIS framework will be in Step 3”.
According to analysis presented by Prime Minister Morrison, the first stage of relaxing social distancing restrictions is expected to boost Australia's economy by more than $3 billion per month and restore 250,000 jobs.
Images: Futsal at the Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre (top, courtesy of Shoalhaven City Council) and the three-stage process for the return of community sport has been unveiled by Australia's national cabinet (below).
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