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South Australia begins to unwind COVID-19 restrictions from today - here’s what that means

Sia Duff
Sibling, Gilles Street

From Monday 11 May, South Australia enters ‘Step One’ of a tentative easing of the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place since March. Here’s what’s changed, and what you still need to observe.

Following a meeting of the National Cabinet on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy outlined a staged plan for gradually unpicking the raft of COVID-19 public health measures that have shut down large parts of society since mid-March. While the overall shape of this staggered reopening is consistent around the country, the timing of each new stage will differ on a state-by-state basis. 

With among the lowest levels of the virus in the country, South Australia is already ahead of many of our eastern seaboard counterparts with many of the more aggressive restrictions faced by Victorian and New South Wales residents never implemented on our side of the border. This means that in our current state – with only one newly identified case in the past fortnight, and just one active case overall – South Australia will again be moving forward slightly ahead of our neighbours.

Perhaps the most notable reversal will be for hospitality businesses, which can now offer limited outdoor dining options alongside takeaway services. Here are all the key points:

Sia Duff
Hey Jupiter, Ebenezer Place
  • Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to resume outdoor dining, with strict restrictions (Maximum 10 patrons, no alcohol, 1 person per 4 square metres, minimise shared equipment)
  • The soft ban on regional travel within South Australia will be lifted
  • Universities and TAFE will resume face-to-face tutorials
  • Local government libraries – not the State Library – can reopen (Maximum 10 patrons at a given time, register attendees, 1.5 metre social distancing, close interactive exhibitions and remove toys)
  • Community, youth and RSL halls will be allowed to reopen
  • Auctions (real estate and auction houses) and inspections will be able to resume (maximum 10 people, attendees must be registered, alternative entry and exit points where possible)
  • Outdoor sports training can resume (Maximum 10 participants, non-contact only, minimise shared equipment)
  • Cap on wedding attendees lifted to 10 people (including the couple, not the celebrant)
  • Cap on funerals lifted to 20 people (indoor) or 30 (outdoor)
  • Places of worship to reopen for private worship and small ceremonies (Maximum 10 attendees)

However, all the usual social distancing measures (maintaining a 1.5 metre distance from others, gatherings of 10 people or less), frequent and thorough handwashing and covering of coughs and sneezes remains incredibly important. 

Additionally, South Australians are advised to stay home if they are showing even the slightest sign of illness, and to seek COVID-19 testing if their symptoms are cold or flu-like. As last week’s case demonstrated, the best way to ensure any undetected or asymptomatic cases of the virus aren’t spread into the community is minimising contact with others if unwell.

The second stage, tentatively slated to take effect from 8 June, will include the reopening of cinemas and theatres, galleries and museums, seated dining and gyms. Larger gatherings, pubs and bars, food courts and the relaxing of state borders however, are still some way off.

But above all, continuing to show a bit of common sense, caution and vigilance remains important. This first stage is part of a managed recovery, not an all-out return to our pre-COVID lifestyles – we’re not out of the woods just yet.

As of Sunday 10 May there have been a total of 439 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Australia, with only one active case remaining. Of that tally, 434 people have officially been cleared of the virus, with over 69,000 tests undertaken. Readers are advised to consult SA Health’s website for the latest information.

Read the state government’s COVID-19 recovery plan here

Walter Marsh

Walter Marsh

Digital Editor
See Profile

Walter is a writer, editor and broadcaster living on Kaurna Country. His work has appeared in Rip It Up, The Saturday Paper, Smith Journal, Royal Auto, Swampland Magazine, Broadsheet and The Thousands.

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