Easter holidays Australia and coronavirus: What we can and can’t do this long weekend
Can we see family? Walk the dog? Head on a holiday?
By Lucy Quaggin
April 09 2020
Easter is here but it’s not going to look like any Easter we’ve experienced before.
Borders are closed, gathering limits are in place and our lives have effectively been put on hold.
With a constantly changing narrative and so many different restrictions in place, it’s hard to keep track of what we can and can’t do.
Can we see family? Walk the dog? Head on a holiday? These are all valid questions about the weekend ahead.
Here’s what we are allowed to do this Easter long weekend - and what we definitely aren’t allowed to do.
Can I go on holiday?
With interstate travel restrictions in place in several parts of the country and strict rules on non-essential travel, the answer to this one is a no.
National advice is that we should only be leaving our house for what we really need as well as exercise, work, medical and care.
“Technically if it’s non-essential travel, it’s not complying … you should not be on the road,” Queensland’s Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he won’t stop people from going to properties they own with their household - but any non-essential travel is still not advised.
If people in Victoria are heading to their second property, they are still expected to stay inside and not mix with anyone new.
The advice in South Australia is much the same - if you have a holiday home you can visit if you keep to yourself, but those looking to get away for the weekend are being urged not to travel to regional areas.
The Australian Government sent a country-wide text message on Wednesday outlining their advice for the weekend.
“Stay home this Easter & save lives,” the text read.
Can I see my family?
This one is a little more complex as it differs from state to state but national advice is to keep any kind of gathering to an absolute minimum.
In NSW and Victoria, you should only see immediate family you don’t live with if you are providing care, delivering food, or taking them to get medication.
People must also still practice physical distancing.
“I know it’ll be very painful for people to not be together with parents and grandparents ... But this is a matter of life and death,” Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday.
This means the usual big family lunch or a meet up at the beach is definitely not allowed this weekend.
In South Australia gatherings are limited to 10 people, so technically you can see small family groups.
However, the premier has urged South Australians to stick to close family or household members when it comes to celebrations.
Who can I visit, then?
Technically in the other states such as WA, you could visit your parents, friend or your son/daughter.
This is only if you are by yourself and the only people in the house you are visiting are those who live there.
That way you’ll be abiding by the two-person gathering limit.
You could also exercise with a family member or friend if you live near each other and no extra travel is involved.
“This is the strong advice of all states and territories, that unless it’s your household, the family, those that are living at your residence, that being with only one other person as a gathering outside is what is required,” the Prime Minister said in March.
At the time, he also said people aged over 70 should stay at home and self-isolate, where practical, for their own safety.
While similar to WA, there are slightly different rules around this in the other states and territories.
This makes it best to check in with your state government.
Across the board, social interaction should be limited to the bare minimum - so if you don’t need to do it, then don’t.
Can I see my partner, even if we don’t live together?
The answer to this is actually quite streamlined - it’s yes.
Seeing your partner is allowed across all states for a number of reasons.
In some regions, it falls under the two-person gathering limit and in others, it’s been allowed as an exemption to otherwise very strict rules.
Best to check state travel restrictions as in WA if your partner lives in another region of the state then you will sadly not be allowed to see them.
Can I walk my dog or go for a run?
Yes, people are allowed to do both of these things as long as they stick to the rules.
Social distancing measures should still be kept in place when exercising.
In most places, people are also only allowed to head out with their household or just one other person.
It’s recommended to exercise locally as getting in a car to drive to your favourite exercise spot is considered ‘non-essential’.
Can I have Easter dinner with the people I live with?
This one is a yes, as long as you reside at the same address.
People can still buy food and cook up a storm in isolation this weekend.
But it’s recommended people keep visits to the shop to a minimum to avoid unnecessary social contact and because long lines are expected.
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