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Clubs and pubs across Australia close

Tue, Mar 24, 12:30pm by William Brown

Clubs, pubs and restaurants across Australia were ordered to close from midday yesterday.

The Canberra Times reports that churches, casinos, cinemas, gyms, indoor sports venues and entertainment venues must also close, along with the licenced part of hotels.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcements on Sunday night after a meeting of state, territory and federal leaders.

Restaurants and cafes can still serve takeaway and do home delivery, but sit-down meals are banned.

Shops and shopping centres remain open.

Funerals are allowed, if the four square metre rule for indoor gatherings is adhered to.

Schools stay open for parents who want to send their children, Mr Morrison said.

But parents could choose to keep their children at home and schools would move to distance learning for children that stayed home.

New South Wales and the ACT have already announced that schools will move to online learning on Tuesday for most students.

Education and the impact on business discussed by PM

Chief Minister Andrew Barr described it as a “distance education program for most students on Tuesday as well as continuing to provide a face-to-face education program for those students who need it.”

Mr Morrison said while schools could move to distance learning, they would remain open for parents who wish to send their children.

“For many parents, for those who may be both parents are working, those might be in essential occupations, nurses and doctors, police, paramedics and things like this, this is very important,” he said.

“But even more important is we want our children to continue to get an education.

“There are many things that we’re going to have to sacrifice because of this coronavirus.

“One of the things – the premiers, chief ministers and I – are very keen to try and avoid, is having to sacrifice the education of our children. I do not want to see our children lose an entire year of their education.”

Mr Morrison said parents must take responsibility for children who stayed home.

“It is not an excuse for them to go down to the shopping centre or to go and congregate somewhere else or potentially put themselves in contact with the vulnerable and elderly population.

“If you choose to keep your child at home, you are responsible for the doncut and behaviour of your children…It is important that they observe the strict social distancing arrangements,” he said.

Mr Barr’s office could not be reached immediately for clarification.

Mr Morrison said he was “deeply regretful” about the impact of club, restaurant and entertainment closures would have on workers and businesses.

“That is a very, very regretful decision, but a necessary one in the view of premiers and chief ministers and myself to ensure that we can control the spread of this virus.

“This should highlight to all Australians how serious this is and how hard we all have to work together to get this right.”

Mr Morrison said the measures were “stage 1” measures and would be reviewed each month. But people should expect them to be in place for six months.

“I wouldn’t want to get the impression that these arrangements are things that will be in place for a couple of weeks or a month and then will be discarded and everything will be OK. These are very significant measures.”

The sudden decision to bring forward drastic closures was sparked by behaviour at Bondi, when people flocked to the beach on Friday.

Mr Morrison said the gathering at Bondi had “sent a very clear message to premiers, chief ministers and that the social distancing practices were not being observed as well as they should be.”


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