29 March 2020

Renters get protection, public gatherings limited to two under tough new COVID-19 restrictions

| David Murtagh
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Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison at this evening’s COVID-19 press conference. Image: Screenshot.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a suite of new measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a moratorium on rental evictions for the next six months and tighter restrictions on public gatherings.

Speaking at his second COVID-19 press conference for the day, Mr Morrison said public gatherings would be restricted to two people, which would be enforced by the states and territories. The ban will cover playgrounds, outdoor gyms (‘group’ activities will be limited to only the trainer and the client) and skateparks, all of which will be closed from tomorrow.

Mr Morrison said the strong advice was that all people should stay home unless they were:

  • Shopping for essentials
  • Using medical services
  • Exercising as per the two-person limit, or
  • Working or undertaking education which could not be done remotely.

“When you are going out for shopping, you should be going for just stuff you need and do it and get home. It is not a time for browsing. It is not a time for catching up with friends or bumping into people and having a long conversation.”

He reiterated the “strong advice” of the National Cabinet that people aged over 70 stay at home “for their own protection to the maximum extent possible”.

“Should they need support then I’m sure they can get support through their community or others,” he said.

“I’m sure they could even ring their local MP and I’m sure their local MP would want to help them in any way they could at either a state or federal level because I have seen that already happening through many of our electorate offices.”

To alleviate the fears of Australians becoming homeless due to coronavirus, the National Cabinet has enacted a moratorium on evictions related to financial stress.

He conceded that there was more work to be done on the proposal but he hoped commonsense would prevail under the current circumstances.

“My message to tenants, particularly commercial tenants, and commercial landlords, is a very straightforward one: we need you to sit down, talk to each other and work this out.

“It’s about looking at the businesses which have been closed, businesses that may have had a significant reduction in their revenues, and we need landlords and tenants to sit down and come up with arrangements that enable them to get through this crisis.”

More to come.

Original Article published by David Murtagh on The RiotACT.

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