Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 8 MAY 2020

I want to say to all Tasmanians, the last couple of months has been a very difficult period for all of us.

My heart goes out to family and friends of those who have lost loved ones. That has been the most difficult and challenging thing out of all of this, to be frank.

I do know, though, that the steps that we’ve taken to fight this virus have had an impact broadly, right across Tasmania, in terms of the impacts on communities, businesses and individuals. And in terms of those who have lost their jobs, one of the most important things we have to look at, is how we start to rebuild our economy and deal with the economic crisis that we now have, in the same sensible and responsible way that we’ve been dealing with the health crisis.

The actions that we’ve taken have been unfortunate but they have been necessary. We’ve needed to get on top of this virus, we’ve needed to make sure we supress it, stamp it out, and importantly, protect Tasmanians’ lives.

I want to make the point today, very clearly, that this isn’t over.

We are going to need to follow the rules, we are going to need to take this step by step and we’re going to need to be guided by Public Health advice as we move forward.

It’s going to be important that all Tasmanians play their part, take their own responsibility in terms of keeping people safe, and keeping themselves, and their community safe.

We’ll all have to work hard together.

We’ve already announced the four safeguards that we want to put in place. Including more testing, and that’s ramping up. Better tracing, and again I encourage all Tasmanians to download the COVIDSafe app. Our Rapid Response Unit, to ensure that when the virus bubbles up, we’re able to put a team on top quickly to track and trace, and get on top of it and stamp it out.

Importantly, COVID Safe plans for organisations that will ensure both their customers and their staff at their businesses are safe.

The roadmap that we’re outlining has three main stages and a few milestones along the way. Most importantly, the easing of restrictions will be based on Public Health advice. Right through this, they have been a tower of strength, and their advice has been so very important to make sure we can get on top of this and provide the opportunity we have now, to start slowly easing our way back, but importantly, to sensibly and responsibly start easing out way back.

I want to outline the steps that we’ll be taking, and the impact that that is going to have on certain areas.

From this coming Monday, 11th May, some of the areas that we will change are areas that I know have caused great stress and heartache to people. In terms of funerals, they will increase from 10 attendees up to 20.

Aged care visits – and I know that this has been so very difficult, and it will be difficult for many families this weekend. From Monday, aged care visits will move to one visit per week, with no more than two people per visit, and that will be managed by the facility, and that will be in place for the next two weeks.

I’m pleased that national parks and reserves will be opened to residents for exercise. But, you’ll need to only access parks within 30 kms of your home.

TasTAFE campuses and training facilities will open for small groups of students attending practical learning and assessment sessions.

Stage One of the process will begin on the following Monday, 18th May. Again, subject to Public Health advice, in Stage One, gatherings will increase to 10 people, for both indoor and outdoor activities, including real estate sales, small religious gatherings and events, funerals will be able to extend to 30 people outdoors. Importantly, visitors to your home will be capped at five. So, five people will be able to visit you, whereas the current rule is two.

Restaurants and cafes, in all settings, including restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels and RSLs, may open and seat patrons of up to 10 people at a time. There will only be seated table service and obviously social distancing will need to continue.

This is a sector of our economy that has been hit the hardest. The visitor economy especially, and in terms of our pubs, clubs and venues around the State, they were in the first tranche that we closed, and that has impacted on a lot of businesses and a lot of employees.

I want to thank the THA for working through this with us, and to Steve Old especially. Whilst this has been very difficult, he has certainly advocated for his members at this difficult time.

Our border controls will remain in place, excepting that in Stage One from the 18th May, Tasmanian residents who return to Tasmania will be able to quarantine in their principal residence if it is suitable. Anyone else coming into Tasmania will remain quarantined in a government hotel facilities.

Community and local government facilities, such as libraries, will be able to open for up to 10 people, and parks and exercise facilities, pools and boot camps outdoors, may open for up to 10 people as well.

From the 25th May, in two weeks’ time, Kindergarten to Year 6 students can return to learning at school. Years 11 and 12 students at extension schools and colleges will be able to return to learning at school as well.

And importantly, through aged care visits, we will move to the national restrictions. And that will mean there will be up to two visitors, at least once a day, into an aged care facility.

I know this has been difficult on people, but it’s important that we continue to follow the rules, and we continue to take Public Health advice, and importantly, as we take these steps, we all maintain those simple rules of maintaining our own personal hygiene and maintaining social distancing.

From 9th June, high school students from Years 7 to 10 will return to schools for learning. And as I’ve said as I work through this, subject to Public Health advice for all of these matters, racing, which I know has concerned a lot of people in the industry, we’ll be able to return to racing, subject to the review and risk assessment by Public Health that is being undertaken in terms of their plan.

We move to Stage Two on the 15th June, subject to Public Health advice, and subject to how we’ve gone through Stage One.

On the 15th June, gatherings will increase to 20 people at a time, for both indoor and outdoor areas, including restaurants, cafes, cinemas, museums, galleries, historic sites, religious gatherings and weddings. We expect that at that time funerals will be able to have 50 attendees.

The restrictions that are on accommodation, in terms of only being able to stay in a hotel if you are an essential traveller, or a worker, or someone who is permanently located in a hotel or in a caravan park, those restrictions will be lifted. That also means that people will be able to start moving around the State in Stage Two and staying overnight.

Camping, overnight boating and shacks will be back as well.

Open homes and auctions can resume with up to 20 people.

Our border controls will remain in place.

Gyms and boot camps will be able to accommodate up to 20 people.

Beauty services, including tattoo, waxing, facials, nails, tanning, will be able to open as well.

Park exercise equipment and playgrounds, again, for up to 20 people.

Outdoor community sport will be able to resume, with up to 20 athletes or personnel involved.

Indoor sport and recreation, as well, including pools, will also be able to include 20 people, but with no spectators.

Stage Three will commence on the 13th July, again, subject to Public Health. And I want to stress this. I’ve always said that we will have a glide path back into this, and it is going to be important that we take Public Health advice at every step of the way, that we understand where the virus is in our community, that we understand whether we are supressing it, and importantly, if there is a small outbreak, whether or not we can contain it.

And as we work our way through this, each of the different stages will continue to be informed by Public Health advice.

But Stage Three, expected to commence on 13th July, will allow for gatherings of up to 50 to 100 people, with the maximum people allowed at that time to be determined by Public Health advice.

Aged care homes will be allowed up to five visitors and with multiple visits.

Again, I want to stress, our border control will remain in place.

Bars, nightclubs, casinos and gaming, subject to Public Health advice, will be able to reopen, again in terms of the gathering limits in place.

Markets will be opened, food courts, and food vans at markets will be open. Again, in line with the Public Health advice at that time.

Spas and bath houses may reopen. School groups, for day trips and camping will be allowed.

Outdoor community sport will resume, with numbers at that time to be guided by Public Health, over and above the limits that were set in Stage Two, along with indoor sport and recreation, again, guided by Public Health.

During all of these three stages, again, I would encourage vulnerable people, those that are aged or have an underlying health condition, to ensure they limit their exposure to other people, that they stay home as much as they can.

It’s important that we do not forget that we have a virus, that that virus is deadly, and that it kills people.

Our pathway back will be gradual, it will be careful, and it will always be based upon the health advice at that time.

We will continue to march to the beat of our own drum here in Tasmania. If we find that we cannot move as we’ve outlined here because of advice from Public Health, then we won’t. The most important thing is that we keep our community safe, that we are sure, that as we step back into this, as we deal with the economic crisis, that we do this sensibly, and responsibly. Every one has worked so hard, our health professionals, our public health experts, our community, our families, those people that we love, those people that we know. We have worked very hard to get to this point, and it’s important that we don’t forget, don’t stop understanding, that the best way to deal with this is that we all do our bit, that we take the steps that we can. Practice good hygiene, wash your hands regularly, maintain social distancing, when you’re out, remain one and a half metres away from someone else. But importantly, follow the rules.

I said right back at the start, that we will get through this if we work together. Well we have to this point, and we’re now at a point when we can again start to see some relaxation of rules as we move forward. But it will be important, and I cannot stress this enough, that we follow the rules, follow the guidance, make certain that we take every step that we can to limit the spread of the virus and importantly, follow the information provided by Public Health, follow the information that is provided by your workplace, and make sure that we all do our bit to keep on top of this.

In finishing, this plan, Rebuild a Stronger Tasmania, will be available on the website, and I encourage Tasmanians to download it. It outlines steps and stages that I have just spoken about. And to get further advice, go to the Coronavirus Website and have a look at what’s available there. There’s a wealth of information.

One thing, in finishing, the message has been clear from Day One on this, if you follow the rules, if you stay home when you need to, if you ensure that when you’re out you ensure that interaction with other people is done in line with the social distancing rules. If you take the steps that have been outlined, then you will be doing your bit to ensure that we keep our community safe, that you keep your family safe, and importantly, you keep yourself safe. And we can all do our bit to keep Tasmanians safe.

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