COVID-19 UPDATE – Public Gatherings

Restrictions on Public Gathering

Last night Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the previous public gathering limit of 10 people has been reduced two. Mr Morrison stated that it will be up to State and territories to “determine whether they proceed to make this an enforceable limit in the same way that the 10-person limit is already being enforced”.

Mr Morrison also declared that public areas, including public playgrounds, outside gyms and skate parks, will be closed from 30 March onwards. In addition to this, boot camps have been reduced to two people.

The Prime Minister stressed that people should remain at home except for:

  1. Shopping for essential items – which should occur as infrequently as possible;
  2. Medical or compassionate reasons;
  3. School or work if it cannot be completed remotely;
  4. Exercise; or
  5. Medical or compassionate reasons

People aged over 70, those with a chronic illness aged over 60, and Indigenous Australians over the age of 50 were strongly advised to stay at home as much as practical.

Such announcements coincide with the directions issued by the Chief Health Officer of Queensland, Dr Jeannetee Young, pursuant to the powers under s 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Echoing Mr Morrison, the directions provide that effective from 11.59pm on Sunday, 29 March 2020, persons residing in Queensland must not leave their principal place of residence, except for, and only to the extent reasonably necessary, to accomplish the following;

  1. to obtain food or other essential goods or services;
  2. to obtain medical treatment or other health care services;
  3. to engage 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;
  4. to perform work on behalf of an employer that is engaged in an 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;
  5. to visit a terminally ill relative or to attend a funeral, subject to any applicable restrictions under other relevant Public Health Directions;
  6. to provide assistance, care or support to an immediate member of the person’s family;
  7. to attend any Court of Australia or to comply with or give effect to orders of the Court; or
  8. to attend 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.

Pursuant to subsection 6(j), a person who leaves their residence for the above-mentioned purposes may be accompanied by household members, or no more than one person who is not a member of their household.

Written by James Tan & Courtney Linton

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