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'Can I visit my partner?' All your questions about the two-person gathering limit, answered.

On Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced more radical measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, as the number of cases in Australia surpasses 4,000.

As of midnight Monday, March 30, all public gatherings will be limited to two persons in public spaces and other areas of gatherings.

So what exactly does that mean for you?

Here, we breakdown exactly what the new public gathering limit entails.

What is the new rule?

On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced that all gatherings must be restricted to “two persons in public spaces and other areas of gathering.”

This applies for inside and outside your house.

Morrison also announced that, within accordance of this new limit, the following outdoor areas have been closed:

  • Public playgrounds
  • Outside gyms
  • Skate parks
  • Bootcamps also restricted to two people.

The Prime Minister said this limit of two people was put in place “particularly for women” so that they “wouldn’t be required to walk on their own and they’d be able to walk with another person”.

I live in a household of more than two people. What does this mean for me?

All members of your household “can be together inside your home [and] outside your home”.

This means you can still go for a walk outside or to the grocery store with all members of your household. But if you are not with the members of your household, you can only be with a maximum of one other person.

Watch: Scott Morrison announces all Australians must stay home. Post continues after video. 

Video by Channel Nine

What if I want to see my family?

This was not made entirely clear by Scott Morrison on Sunday night.

However, it has since been clarified that you can still visit members of your family who you do not live with. This means families that are split over two households can still visit each other.

Can I visit my partner or friend?

There has been a lot of confusion about whether people can still visit their partners.

According to federal guidelines outlined by the Prime Minister on Sunday night, you can have a maximum of one other person in your home as a guest at any given time.

Whether you can visit your partner or not though depends on what state you live in.

In NSW, the NSW Police Commissioner Mike Fuller said people could “absolutely” visit their partners because “that’s under care”.

In Victoria, however, police minister Lisa Neville said: “You cannot visit your partner for social reasons.”

As for visiting friends, the general advice is to not leave your home unless for an essential reason.

So what can I leave my home for?

Scott Morrison outlined four reasons why you can leave your home:

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  • Shopping for what you need – although this should be done “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.
Can I go for a walk
You can still go for a walk outside. Image: Getty.

But how will they enforce this rule?

Through fines.

The Prime Minister said that "states and territories will determine whether they proceed to make this an enforceable limit," and that breaking the rules "can carry very significant on the spot fines".

"In South Australia, [there is] an on the spot fine of $1,000 if you violate that rule in South Australia. So they're not mucking around. They're very, very serious.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said on Monday there will be "an on-the-spot fine of more than $1600 if you breach it on gatherings with more than two people, other than those in your household".

The NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller also said on Monday that police will be enforcing the two-person rule with on-the-spot fines in NSW.

Does the two-person limit rule apply to work and schools?

No. The two-person limit does not apply to essential gatherings - which includes essential workplaces (where you cannot work from home), health care settings, pharmacies, food shopping, schools and universities (where you cannot study from home), public transport and airports.

For essential gatherings such as these, the social distancing rules of 1.5 metres between people must apply as well as good hygiene practices.

Does the two-person limit apply to weddings and funerals?

No.

Morrison said that the previous limit imposed on wedding and funerals last week will remain in place - meaning they are exempt from this two-person restriction.

This means weddings can have five people and funerals can have 10 people.

Read more on COVID-19:

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.


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Feature Image: Getty.

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