As non-essential services close due to coronavirus, what is actually open?

Mar 23, 2020
Non-essential services closed their doors on Monday. Source: Getty.

On Sunday evening, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that all non-essential services across the country would be forced to close their doors from midday on Monday, March 23, as the federal and state governments work to reduce the risk of coronavirus and ‘flatten the curve’ when it comes to confirmed cases in Australia.

This was stage one of the government’s plan to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. Just two days later on Tuesday night Morrison updated this to level two restrictions with even further businesses forced to shut from midnight Wednesday, March 25.

These new measures mean that many businesses across the country are now facing an uncertain future and limit the activities that Aussies can engage in, with Morrison warning the public to expect these heightened measures to remain in place for the next six months.

“We will be living with this virus for at least six months, so social distancing measures to slow this virus down must be sustainable for at least that long to protect Australian lives, allow Australia to keep functioning and keep Australians in jobs,” the PM said. “If we want to slow the spread, everyone must implement appropriate social distancing in accordance with state and territory laws.”

He added: “We need every Australian to do their bit to save the lives of other Australians.”

So, as you begin to adapt to a more isolated style of life, here’s what you need to know about what is classed as essential and non-essential.

What are non-essential services?

  • Pubs, registered and licensed clubs
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes – however these can still operate on a takeaway and/or home delivery basis
  • Food courts inside shopping shopping centres – however these can still operate on a takeaway basis
  • Religious gatherings and places of worship
  • Beauty, tanning and nail salons
  • Real estate auctions and open house inspections
  • Community centres and play centres
  • Arcades, galleries, museums and libraries

What are essential services?

Essential services are classified as those which help to keep Australia running, they include:

  • Supermarkets
  • Petrol stations
  • Medical centres and pharmacies
  • Convenience stores
  • Home delivery services
  • Retail stores, including hairdressers will also remain open for now – however they must follow social distancing measures and hairdresser appointments can also last 30 minutes
  • Bottle shops
  • Banks
  • Post offices
  • Taxis
  • Child care providers
  • Convenience stores
  • Trades
  • Freight and logistics

What other restrictions are in place?

  • No non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people outdoors or more than 100 people indoors
  • All non-essential indoor gatherings (of less than 100 people) must have no more than one person per four square metres
  • Where possible, keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others
  • Avoid all non-essential domestic travel
  • Overseas travel ban – exceptions made for aid workers and for compassionate, employment and other essential travel.
  • Several states and territories have now closed their borders, with anyone who enters WA, SA, TAS, NT and QLD now ordered to self isolate for 14 days
  • Visitor restrictions in aged care homes to protect the elderly
  • Funerals are limited to 10 people
  • Weddings are limited to give people, including the bride and groom.

Are you concerned about the closure of non-essential services? What measures are you taking to stay safe?

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