Asia Minute: Australia’s Phased Plan for Reopening

May 11, 2020

Australia is among the many locations taking a phased approach to re-opening following the coronavirus pandemic. Some guidelines are fairly broad, but others are very specific.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hopes to open most of the country by July in three stages. He’s announced national guidelines, it’s up to each of Australia’s states to implement them as they see fit, and each stage will have a “cooling-off period” for medical professionals to evaluate their impact.

First to open will be restaurants, playgrounds, libraries and community centers, but with a limit of ten people at a time gathered in the same place. The only exceptions: weddings can have 13 people — one to do the ceremony, the couple, and ten guests.

Funerals are capped at 20 for indoors, 30 for outdoors.

Stage two allows gatherings of up to 20 people — up to 50 for funerals. Gyms and movie theaters could re-open, along with galleries and beauty salons — as long as everyone still keeps their distance.

Specifics on the third phase depend in part on how the first two go. Gatherings of up to 100 people would be allowed — nightclubs and other venues would open, but travel remains more uncertain.

Travel to New Zealand and other Pacific Islands might be a possibility, as well as allowing travel for international students. Although, the Prime Minister says it remains to be seen if that can be safely done.

All along the way, the national cabinet will review the situation every three weeks to see how the system is working.