News Coronavirus and the Easter holidays: Everything you need to know
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Coronavirus and the Easter holidays: Everything you need to know

COVID-19 and the new Easter rules.
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Boat ramps are padlocked, roadblocks have been set up on major highways and congregations have moved online.

It is Easter in Australia and it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

With constantly changing restrictions it can be hard to keep up – can you see family? Walk the dog? Go to the supermarket?

Here is everything you need to know this Easter.

Can I go on a holiday?

If you are wondering this, it is good to imagine every frontline healthcare worker in the country screaming a collective ‘no’.

They say no. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says no. Every Premier says no.

This Easter, holidaying away from home is cancelled – to be replaced by the under-appreciated staycation.

It is not illegal if you own a holiday home you can go there. But it is certainly not advised.

On Wednesday, Mr Morrison implored Australians to stay at home this Easter, insisting that doing otherwise could create a catastrophe.

“This Easter weekend will be incredibly important,” Mr Morrison said.

“Stay at home. Failure to do so this weekend would completely undo everything we have achieved so far together, and potentially worse.”

Police roadblocks will placed in some popular holidaying spots, like the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, to deter trigger-happy travellers.

Even Airbnb is telling people to stay home.

Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s country manager for Australia, said: “If you’re thinking of an Easter getaway this long weekend, change your plans immediately and stay home.”

Can I go to the beach?

Unless you are lucky enough to live near the beach, the answer is no.

Don’t worry, it’ll be cold, wet and windy anyway.

Can I see my family?

This one differs from state to state, so it is a little more complex than a simple yes or no.

The big family lunch is off.

In New South Wales and Victoria, you are only allowed to see one family member – if you are taking them food, providing care or exercising with them.

 

The federal advice for other states and territories is to keep visits to loved ones to a minimum, with limits on hangouts that include more than two people.

Time to fire up the Zoom.

Who can I visit?

No one really.

Unless you live in Western Australia, then you can go to a mate’s place if you are the only one invited.

But you can go for your daily state-sanctioned exercise together, as long as it doesn’t involve any contact.

“This is the strong advice of all states and territories. That unless it’s your household, the family, those that are living at your residence, that being with only one other person as a gathering outside is what is required,” the Prime Minister said in March.

Can I walk my dog or go for a run?

Lace up those trainers and get going!

Just stick to the rules, no getting close to anyone, and stay local.

Can I see my partner if we don’t live together?

We get the confusion with this one.

For a few small hours it looked like the government had put in place a ‘bonk ban’ as it was called by outraged couples.

But states and territories soon rushed to clarify: You can see your partner if you don’t live together.

Mazel tov!

Can I shop for a feast?

Yes. Easter isn’t cancelled, it just looks a bit different.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t still stuff your face with hot cross buns.

But be prepared.

Woolworths and Coles have warned customers they will be busy over the long weekend, so you will likely have to stand in cordoned-off queues.

“Traditionally, the Thursday lead-up to Easter is one of our busiest times in store,” Woolworths managing director of supermarkets Claire Peters said.

“We ask our customers to pre-plan their Easter shopping to avoid the usual Thursday spike in numbers. Customer limits will be specific in each location and based on the size of the store.”

Can I go to church?

Sort of. You may not be able to worship inside your church, but you can via Zoom.

For the past two weeks place of worship have been closed across the country. But those that are formally involved in conducting services are allowed to be inside the building.

To summarise:

We put all these questions to the health department, which came back with this short, sharp message:

“Easter does not change the strict social distancing rules across the country,” a spokesperson said.

You must stay at home except for:

  • Shopping for what you need, food and other essential supplies that enable you to remain at home and to do that shopping as infrequently as possible
  • For medical care or compassionate needs
  • To exercise in compliance with the public gathering rules
  • For work and education if you cannot work or learn remotely.

“People should not travel for holidays and risk infecting tourist towns. Easter lunch should be avoided, and many religious services are being delivered online.”

Essentially, stay inside and save some lives.