Intrastate and then interstate travel look set to return in the coming weeks and months with the start of the easing of COVID-19 travel and other restrictions as outlined by the Federal Government.
Unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday, Australia’s ‘three-step’ pathway for relaxing restrictions includes a planned comeback of local and regional travel in step one, some interstate travel in step two, and all interstate travel as well as the consideration of trans-Tasman, Pacific Island and international student travel in step three.
Away from travel, step one will see the conditional opening of restaurants, cafes and shops, step two gyms, theatres, galleries and amusement parks, and step three nightclubs, food courts and gatherings of up to 100 people.
States and territories will determine the timing of the stages.
In a statement, Mr Morrison said Australia had so far been highly successful in ‘flattening the curve’.
“We are confidently and cautiously taking the first step to lifting restrictions,” he said.
“This means that many Australians can start getting out to the shops, undertaking some local trips and travel, visiting playgrounds and public parks, and having friends and family around with a bit more freedom.”
While a return to domestic travel seems imminent, according to the PM, overseas travel remains a long way off.
“There is nothing on our radar which would see us opening up international travel, in the foreseeable future,” he said at a press conference.
“There are already some very, very minor exceptions where the Border Force can provide an exemption for outbound travel, but that's in areas like facilitating development aid in third countries and things like that. It's a very limited set of circumstances.”
Then of course, there’s the matter of getting people back to work as soon as possible.
While many travel companies will stay largely dormant for some time yet, those businesses that do return to a more normal state will need “to prepare and develop a plan to operate in a COVID safe way to protect their customers and workers”, the PM’s statement said.
According to Mr Morrison, National Cabinet will review the progress of the three-step framework every three weeks.
Check out the roadmap to Australia's recovery here.
What are your thoughts on the easing of restrictions? Too soon, or not soon enough?
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