Stage two restrictions: Exactly what is and isn't shutting down from midnight Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced further restrictions have been placed on businesses and other non-essential facilities as part of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new rules, coming two days after the federal government announced ‘level one’ shutdown restrictions on Sunday, will come into place from midnight today.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlines new restrictions. Post continues below video.

Video via Channel Ten

Here are the latest shutdowns.

What non-essential services have been shutdown?

In response to Australians not following social distancing guidelines, Morrison listed even more non-essential services must close their doors. This means the closure of:

  • Registered and licensed clubs
  • Licensed premises in hotels and pubs
  • Entertainment venues and cinemas
  • Casinos
  • Nightclubs
  • Restaurants and cafes, which will be restricted to takeaway and home delivery only
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues including yoga, barre and spin facilities
  • Wellness centres, spas and saunas
  • Swimming pools
  • Beauty therapists, including tanning and nail salons
  • Tattoo parlours
  • Amusement parks
  • Arcades
  • Places of worship
  • Auction houses and open home inspections
  • Food courts, although takeaway from these premises will still be allowed
  • Outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets – states and territories will address markets in their jurisdictions
  • Galleries, museums, historic sites
  • Libraries
  • Community centres and facilities such as halls
  • Strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues

These new measures are on top of many rules already in place, including:

  • Keep 1.5m between yourself and others, where possible
  • Avoid all non-essential travel, including domestically
  • Visitor restrictions to aged care facilities

Other stage two restrictions.

The Prime Minister also banned private gatherings including barbecues and parties.

“Visits to your premises, to your house, to your residence, should be kept to a minimum and with very small numbers of guests,” he said.

“We don’t want to be overly specific about that, we want Australians to exercise their common sense. So that means barbecues of lots of friends, or even family, extended family, coming together to celebrate one-year-old birthday parties and those sorts of things, we can’t do those things now. These will be a significant sacrifice, I know.”

Three women on what lockdowns feel like around the world. Post continues below audio.

He expressed concern that people may organise house parties to compensate for the closure of clubs and venues, and said the states and territories will consider whether they’ll put measures in place that could lead to that being an offence.

Non-urgent elective surgeries, whether in the public or private systems, will be postponed. Urgent surgeries will not be impacted.


Other rules include:

  • Weddings can continue where it is just the couple, the celebrant and the witnesses, so no more than five people and the four square metre rule has to be observed within the venue.
  • Funerals must be no more than 10 people who observe the four-square metre rule and the social distancing practices.

A full travel ban.

Australia currently has a ‘do not travel’ warning for all overseas travel. From midday Wednesday, that will escalate to a full, worldwide travel ban.

“There is a ban as of midday today for Australians leaving the country, other than for essential or compassionate grounds,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

What essential services will remain open?

Morrison said as it stands, Australians would still be able to leave their homes as required, though they should stay home unless needing to visit an essential place. These, which as it stands will remain open, are:

  • Shopping centres
  • Supermarkets
  • Petrol stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Bottle shops
  • Hairdressers and barbers, but for a maximum of 30 minutes per appointment and with social distancing measures
  • Takeaway and food delivery services
  • Personal training sessions, limited to a maximum of 10 people with enforced social distancing arrangements

Morrison once again stated that panic buying and stockpiling was not necessary.

Whether hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses remain open will be a decision for each state and territory.

The Prime Minister said outdoor exercise, such as going for a walk, perhaps with your partner or immediate family members was fine, provided it was a small group and you practice social distancing while out.

What about schools?

Morrison said the medical advice for schools has not changed and schools would remain open.

“It is safe to send your children to school. Tomorrow, I’ll be meeting – and there has been discussions today between the Education Minister, Dan Tehan, and the education national unions, and I will be meeting with them tomorrow.

“It’s going to be a tough year in 2020 and one of the things I don’t want to have yielded up is a year of a child’s education, which is so important. We need to work so hard together to try to ensure that those kids get that education and that is not lost to this virus.”

He previously said that arrangements were being made for distance learning frameworks, but this couldn’t happen immediately.

“What we will be doing though is allowing parents in, to the end of this year’s school term, to be able to keep their children at home where they choose to. But for all of those parents who wish to send their children to school, for an education at the school, those schools will remain open. In addition, schools will seek to provide learning at home in a distance learning framework but you cannot be assured that that will come in place immediately,” he said on Sunday.

In Victoria, the end of term one has been brought forward. Victorian students have begun their school holidays early.


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday said schools will remain open, but has urged parents to keep their children at home, if possible.

On Sunday, Morrison stressed that the upcoming two week Easter school break would not be a holiday as it was usually.

“This term break will be like none other. This will not be a holiday as it is normally known for the break in term,” he said.

“There will not be trips interstate, there will not be those holiday normal type arrangements. There will not be congregating up at the trampoline venue or whatever it happens to be. That will not be happening. It won’t be a holiday as anyone has ever known it.

“And it is important I think that families and households understand that because over the course of the term break, we need to ensure that we continue to follow the very strict rules around social distancing.

“This is a critical time. An absolutely critical time. The decisions that parents make, that we all make, over the course of the next few weeks in particular could very seriously determine the trajectory that Australia continues to go on in relation to the coronavirus. So I would seek and implore Australians to follow this advice. You will be saving lives and you’ll be saving livelihoods.”

More measures could come.

Morrison acknowledged the restrictions would mean an entirely new way of life for Australians and would require “significant sacrifice”.

“Australians should stay at home, unless shopping for essentials, travelling to and from work – where you cannot work from home, going to school and exercising. Keep visitors to your home at a minimum. In outdoor spaces do not congregate in groups.”

Further restrictions, including a full lockdown of non-essential activities, could be implemented if the country’s rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers do not plateau.


The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advises the National Cabinet on its coronavirus strategy.

“The next step, if required, is likely to be a carefully considered closure of all activity except essential industries and services,” it said.

“All states and territories are in agreement with the above position, except Victoria, who expressed the desire for even stronger measures at this time.”

Read more on COVID-19

The Australian Government Department of Health advises that the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those with symptoms who have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days. 

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.

Feature images: Getty.

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