The government’s shutdown of all non-essential services has come into effect at midday today (March 23) across Australia.
The new policy, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the weekend, is the latest national measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which reached 1,315 cases in recent days. Earlier this month, the Morrison government placed a ban on public mass gatherings of over 500 people.
The venues which have been restricted from opening until further notice include cinemas, casinos, clubs and gyms. Places of worship and religious gatherings have also been banned, with the exception of small funerals and weddings that adhere to the one person per four square metre rule. Meanwhile, restaurants and cafes will only be open for takeaway and home delivery.
Essential services such as supermarkets, banks, petrol stations, pharmacies and bottle shops will not be affected. Morrison also added that schools will remain open throughout the country as advice from health officials has not changed.
“I am deeply regretful that those workers and those business owners, who will be impacted by this decision, will suffer the economic hardship that undoubtedly they will now have to face,” Morrison said yesterday (March 22), according to ABC.
The local music industry has been greatly affected by the different bans on public gatherings and non-essential services, with many artists and festivals announcing cancellations. Check out the full list of Australian festivals and concerts that have been cancelled here.