Australia’s process for easing restrictions will still ultimately be up to states and territories, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
Morrison is taking questions now. On the timing of step one, he says the premiers and chief ministers will announce their own timetables.
They’ll be announcing their own timetables for when they’re making those statements. I think you can expect to see some of them later today, making some initial comments and I’d expect to see them making further comments in the days ahead, over the weekend, and early next week. That’s when you can expect them to outline those timetables.
There’s some states like Western Australia where step one has ticked the box. They’re very much well advanced on that. South Australia, Northern Territory, quite similarly. But those on the east coast, a very different situation. They all got different starting points. The whole country has the same end point, to get to a COVID safe economy
Australia outlines three-step plan for easing restrictions
Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is speaking now. He is outlining the steps the country will take to achieve a “Covid-safe economy in July of this year”.
There are three steps:
Step one will “enable greater connection with friends and family”
Things that will be allowed include:
- Gatherings up to 10 people, and five guests in your own home.
- Children back in classrooms and in playgrounds in their communities.
- Recreational activities such as golf, lap swimming and boot camps.
- Retail and small cafes and restaurants reopening.
- Interstate recreational travel, starting again.
- An easing of restrictions for funerals.
Step two, Morrison says, “will allow larger size gatherings up to 20 people, including for venues such as cinemas and galleries, more retail openings on sector-based Covid-safe plans, organised community sport, and beauty parlours, and you’ll be pleased to know, barre classes open once again.”
Step three, Morrison says, will see gatherings of up to 100 people. But its timing, he says, will depend on the success of the previous steps.
“But most workers, by then, will be back in the workplace. Interstate travel will likely resume. Pubs and clubs with some restrictions will be open. And also possibly gaming venues. As I said, steps three, step three, but also step two, will get greater definition as we move through the success of step one.”
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A black lawmaker came to Michigan’s capitol with an escort of armed black citizens on Wednesday, days after white protesters with guns staged a volatile protest inside the state house, comparing the Democratic governor’s public health orders to “tyranny”.
The state representative Sarah Anthony, 36, said she wanted to highlight what she saw as the failure of the Michigan capitol police to provide legislators with adequate security during the protest, which saw demonstrators with rifles standing in the legislative chamber above lawmakers.
“When traditional systems, whether it’s law enforcement or whatever, fail us, we also have the ability to take care of ourselves,” she told the Guardian. Anthony became the first African American woman elected to represent her district in Lansing, Michigan’s capital, in 2018.
One of Anthony’s constituents, a black firefighter, organized Wednesday’s capitol escort. While early reports focused on three black men with large rifles escorting Anthony, there were six participants, including two women, and some of them were armed with handguns, Lynn said. Five of the participants are black and one is Hispanic. Michael Lynn Jr, a Lansing resident, said he was frustrated to see his legislator being violently intimidated in her workplace. He said the escort was the first time he had ever chosen to openly carry his AR-15 rifle.