In the interest of public safety, the Australian government has restricted travel over Easter to essential travel only. Consequences for leaving your place of residence without a valid reason include severe fines and potential prison sentences. In order to protect yourselves, your loved ones and all Australians, please spend this Easter at home with your immediate family.
KEY TAKE OUTS:
- There will be no family gatherings this Easter.
- The restriction on gatherings beyond 2 people will be enforced.
- Easter holidays and trips will need to be cancelled to avoid serious penalties.
- Travel is restricted to providing an essential service to a family member or leaving the home for an approved reason.
- The Easter Bunny will still be working despite COVID19.
This Easter will be unlike any Easter we have seen before. The Australian government has introduced new restrictions to travel, specifically over the Easter holiday period.
It’s important to be aware of your rights and restrictions regarding travel during this period. Australians are being urged to stay home over Easter. Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has pleaded with Australians to sacrifice their usual Easter festivities and uphold social distancing measures in order to combat the spread of Coronavirus. Easter is typically a time of travel, social gatherings and family visits. Unfortunately, this Easter we are being asked not to do this by the Australian government.
Government directives are to “stay home this Easter and not undertake holiday travel”. There are concerns from the Australian government that people will ignore the do-not-travel message and negatively impact the efforts to step up the fight against spreading COVID19. Residents of New South Wales are now legally obliged to stay home, unless they have a “reasonable excuse” to leave. Gatherings are also currently limited to two people unless they are immediate family, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned this will be enforced. Please note, even going out for a simple drive is prohibited unless you have a valid reason such as a medical appointment or grocery shopping. A full list of reasonable excuses to be leaving your home for a short period of time is enclosed in Schedule 1 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 [NSW].
The official advisory that Australians must avoid all non-essential domestic travel has been drilled in by the Prime Minister’s latest address. Currently in NSW, anyone who flouts travel restrictions can be hit with a hefty fine and the potential for gaol time. Is travelling for Easter worth the risk? Easter is a time where families gather, in the current climate, the only valid reason to visit the house of another person is to provide care to them, for work or for education. Face to face visits are not an option this Easter, fortunately we have modern technology and options such as face time to keep in contact with family during this period. This Easter will need to be a chocolate filled staycation.
Whilst this is a difficult period for everybody, it’s necessary to be understanding that these restrictions are in the best interest of every Australian. These restrictions and measures are put in place to protect us as individuals and as communities. The closer we can adhere to them, the safer everyone will be.
It’s important to note, Easter is not cancelled, it is simply adjusted. It can be spent at home with the relatives or friends you reside with. Perhaps most importantly, the Easter Bunny will still be working over Easter. As Professor Brendan Murphy quipped, “because he’s a solo operator and an essential service, he or she, will be allowed to continue to operate”. It will be a different type of Easter but in the interest of keeping every Australian safe, please endeavour to keep your travel restricted to egg hunts in your own backyard.
ABOUT LUISA GAETANI:
Luisa is a Senior Associate at Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers and head of our Family and Criminal Law divisions. Luisa has practiced solely in the areas of criminal and family law. It is her sensitive yet pragmatic approach that has allowed her to develop a strong rapport and build trusting relationships with her clients.
Should a client’s matter proceed to court, Luisa has the skillset and experience to assist her clients through this process and where required, will draw upon her network of barristers to further benefit her client’s outcomes.
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This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.