Popular Gold Coast Beaches Close Due To Coronavirus Restrictions
Popular Gold Coast Beaches Close Due To Coronavirus Restrictions

What you can and can’t do this Easter

The Easter long weekend usually sees Aussies heading to church, planning big family gatherings, or packing up the car and heading for the beach.

But this year, with a number of tough restrictions now in place to slow the spread of the nation's coronavirus outbreak, those events are largely off the table, with the message from the federal and state governments and authorities simple: stay at home.

"A lot of us had our hearts sold on going on holidays or doing something we'd normally do at Easter, and we can't this year," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned Australia risks facing COVID-19 "horror scenarios" similar to those overseas if measures are abandoned over the long weekend.

"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 road blocks will be in place in some areas, and anyone caught "deliberately and blatantly" breaching rules will be fined.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall delivered a similar message, saying the government "couldn't be clearer".

"This is an Easter and these are school holidays when we are asking people to stay at home," he said. "It's as simple as that. It's not a time for people to be gallivanting around the state."

With that in mind, here's what you can and can't do this long weekend.

CAN I GO TO THE BEACH?

If your trip to the beach involves travel - no, you can't.

If you're heading to the beach for exercise and you're not a local, you should be staying home as well.

Queensland's police commissioner Katarina Carroll said beaches there would be "heavily patrolled" by police.

CAN I GO TO MY HOLIDAY HOUSE?

If you're heading to your holiday house, the advice differs depending on which state you're in - but the message is the same: if you don't have to leave home, then don't.

In Queensland, Comm Carroll warned people not to travel to their holiday homes - with the rule being people need to remain at their principal place of residence.

"Technically if it's non-essential travel, it's not complying … you should not be on the road," she said.

"On the weekend, we have fined people for blatantly just being out and about, going for a ride or a drive, which is clearly non-essential travel - it's happened time and time again."

In Victoria, police deputy commissioner Shane Patton told 3AW in a radio interview on Tuesday if you have more than one ordinary place of residence, you can move freely between those places.

"You got a holiday house? You can go to that," he said - but he ruled out taking a caravan away for the long weekend.

"If you're towing a caravan (on your Easter break) that's not going to a normal or ordinary place of residence. I wouldn't be thinking that going camping or towing a trailer anywhere is an acceptable form of behaviour."

If you booked an Airbnb, Victoria's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said you should have cancelled it by now.

In Western Australia, police roadblocks will be in place to stop anyone other than locals from travelling to coastal towns.

CAN I TRAVEL INTERSTATE?

Most states and territories have closed their borders - meaning you can't travel, even if you wanted to.

Queensland, WA, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania have shut their borders to almost all Australians, except for necessary health workers, people bringing vital supplies or those needing to cross the border on compassionate grounds.

With police at the borders, you'll likely be turned around without a good reason.

 

Barriers have been installed to enforce border separation between Queensland and NSW. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Barriers have been installed to enforce border separation between Queensland and NSW. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt


CAN I CATCH UP WITH FAMILY?

Big family gatherings are a definite no.

Federal Government advice is to keep visits to family and friends to a minimum, with limits on any gathering that exceeds two people (not including those you live with) limited.

"I know that will be very painful for people to not be together with parents and grandparents. But this is a matter of life and death," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said, of people not being allowed to celebrate Easter in the ways they normally would.

There are fines of anywhere from $1000 (depending on the state) in place for individuals who break social distancing rules.

CAN I GO TO CHURCH?

Under Federal Government rules, indoor places of worship have been closed for more than two weeks now.

While they're closed to the public, Mr Morrison announced ahead of Easter they'll be considered workplaces - meaning those involved in formally conducting church or worship services are allowed to be in the building and livestreams of services, for example, can be made possible.

CAN I STILL BUY GROCERIES?

Luckily if your Easter egg or hot cross bun supply is running low, you're still allowed to head out to the grocery shop.

But, major supermarkets Woolworths and Coles have warned they'll (as usual) be busy over the long weekend, and shoppers will need to wait in cordoned-off queues outside the store so that social distancing rules inside can be maintained.

"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."

Security guards and police officers are expected to manage the queues at peak times and enforce the 1.5 metre social-distancing rules.

At Coles, staff will be at store entrances to provide assistance and let customers know when they're allowed to come in.

Customers have been warned to do their Easter shopping sooner rather than later to make it easier for stores to maintain social distancing measures. Picture: Sam Ruttyn/The Sunday Telegraph
Customers have been warned to do their Easter shopping sooner rather than later to make it easier for stores to maintain social distancing measures. Picture: Sam Ruttyn/The Sunday Telegraph

SUPERMARKET OPERATING HOURS

• Good Friday:

Woolworths: Only stores in NSW and the ACT will trade from 11am until 5pm.

Coles: Stores in the ACT, NSW and NT will open between 11am and 5pm. Stores in all other states will close.

Easter Saturday:

Woolworths: Stores in SA will trade between 7am and 6pm. In WA, stores will trade between 8am and 9pm. Stores in all other states and territories will trade between 7am and 10pm.

Coles: Stores in every state except for QLD and WA will open from 7am to 10pm. In WA, metro stores will open 8am to 5pm and for regional stores and all Coles in QLD, check your local store for opening hours as they may vary.

Easter Sunday:

Woolworths: In NSW and the ACT stores will open between 9am and 6pm. In Victoria, NT and Tasmania, they'll open between 8am and 8pm. In QLD, between 8am and 6pm. In SA, metro stores will close and regional stores will open from 8am to 8pm. And in WA, metro stores will open between 11am and 5pm and regional stores between 8am and 8pm.

Coles: In the ACT and NSW stores will operate between 9am and 6pm. In Victoria, Tasmania and the NT, they'll open between 7am and 10pm. SA metro stores will close, but CBD and regional stores will open between 11am and 5pm. In WA, metro stores will operate between 11am and 5pm. For regional stores in WA and all stores in QLD, check your local store for opening hours as they may vary.

Easter Monday:

Woolworths: Stores in NSW, Victoria, NT, Tasmania and the ACT will open between 8am and 10pm. In QLD and WA, they'll operate between 8am and 6pm. And in SA, metro stores will open between 11am and 5pm and regional stores between 8am and 8pm.

Coles: In all states but SA, QLD and WA, stores will open 8am to 10pm. In SA, CBD/metro stores will open 11am to 5pm, and regional stores will open 8am to 10pm. In WA, stores will operate 8am to 6pm. And in QLD, shoppers are again advised to check their local store for trading hours.

Originally published as What you can and can't do this Easter



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