Non-essential services: what do Australia’s latest coronavirus restrictions mean?
The PM wants you to avoid travel that’s ‘not part of your normal life’.
Here’s the detail
First published on Sun 22 Mar 2020 15.29 AEDT
On Sunday the prime minister said all ‘non-essential’ holiday plans – international and interstate – should be postponed.
Australia is approaching a nationwide lockdown, akin to those seen overseas, with states and territories closing their borders and enforcing mandatory self-isolation on travellers.
Scott Morrison has told Australians to avoid all “non-essential” travel, in particular interstate travel and longer distances intrastate.
Four jurisdictions – the Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania – have effectively closed their borders to outside travel, while the ACT has urged all non-essential travel into surrounding NSW to be postponed.
What does ‘essential’ mean?
Under the national guidelines, travel to school, to workplaces, and to shops to buy staples are all considered essential, as is travel on compassionate grounds, or for emergencies. The use of public transport for school or work is also considered essential.
Australia’s health department defines essential and non-essential events, for which travel is necessary.
Essential activities also include healthcare appointments and pharmacy visits.
On Sunday Victoria and NSW both said they would be closing down many non-essential services over the following 48 hours, citing petrol stations, supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, freight and logistics, and home delivery services among those deemed essential.
That would override previous national definitions of non-essential indoor gatherings of fewer than 100 people (including staff), which included: cinemas and theatres; restaurants, cafes, pubs, and clubs; weddings; funerals.
Holiday travel interstate is non-essential. Holiday plans should be abandoned, the prime minister said. People should stay at home.
But the definition of non-essential is dependent on individual circumstances, and the government has urged Australians to consider the health of the community’s most vulnerable in deciding whether travel is essential or not.
Exercise ‘common sense’
In his press conference Sunday, the prime minister defined “non-essential travel” as “the sort of travel that would not be normally part of your normal life”.
“Going to the shops is something you have to do, get into work, other important tasks you have to do on a daily basis, but I think Australians can exercise their common sense about things they know are not essential and this is again the point I am making to people: we will give you as many rules and as many guidelines as we can but we need you to think carefully about what you are doing and your behavior and the impact it has on others.”
Cancel all holidays
Morrison said all holiday plans – international and interstate – should be postponed.
“[Cancelling non-essential travel] does mean that those holidays that you may have been planning to take interstate over the school holidays are cancelled. It is regrettable and I know the impact it will have on many people in those communities where those holidays were going to take place. These decisions are not taken lightly.”
Overseas travel is warned against by the Australian government, which has issued a level 4 advisory – the highest level: “We now advise all Australians: do not travel overseas at this time.
“Regardless of your destination, age or health, our advice does not travel at this time.”
State and territory restrictions
Tasmania was the first state to close its borders. All non-essential travelers to Tasmania will be required to self-isolate for a fortnight.
The Northern Territory, Western Australia, and South Australia have also announced border closures.
South Australia will close its borders from 4 pm Tuesday, with 12 designated crossing points. Travellers will be required to sign a declaration about their health and willingness to undertake mandatory self-isolation for two weeks.
Also from 4 pm Tuesday, anyone crossing the Northern Territory’s borders into that jurisdiction will be required to self-isolate for a fortnight, with exemptions granted for “essential arrivals” such as health and emergency services, defence force members and police, flight crews and freight.
Western Australia is closing its borders to all travellers from 1.30 pm local time on Tuesday. Anyone arriving after that date will have to self-isolate for 14 days. The premier, Mark McGowan, urged prospective interstate visitors to cancel holidays they had booked in WA, “otherwise you’re going to be required to self-isolate”.
The ACT chief minister, Andrew Barr, said on Sunday the territory could not close its borders (given its small size and being surrounded by NSW), but the ACT had advised that non-essential travel by ACT residents should be suspended.
“This means no holidays on the south coast. This means no weekends in Sydney or Melbourne. Visiting family and friends outside of the Canberra region has to be carefully considered and if it is not essential, do not do it.”
For further information contact:
Paul Basso, Principal, First National Real Estate Basso, on 03-59-811200
If you are interested in the area or would like to know more about living on the Mornington Peninsula. Please feel free to contact our office Click Here for Details.
If you are interested in the Real Estate Market and want to find out the prices of recently sold properties, you can download our FREE report HERE.
You can also review our current listings