Social restrictions began to ease in the state from Monday, and Tasmanians are now allowed to do a number of things that were previously banned.
For example, you are now allowed to have five visitors in your home not including the people who live there, and some businesses including cafes or restaurants are now allowed to serve 10 people not including staff. The full list of changes is here.
You are allowed to travel across the state to do allowed activities, like visiting a friend. But you are only allowed to travel 30 kilometres from your house to go to a national park or reserve.
The easing of social restrictions have been put into law via a series of public health and emergency management orders. It remains an offence to breach an order, with a possible summons to court, fine of up to $16,800, or prison sentence of up to six months.
All of the rules could change at any time depending on the situation with the coronavirus, and subsequent public health advice.
And of course, no matter what changes are put in place, you must continue to wash your hands regularly, stay 1.5 metres away from others, and, if you have any cold-like symptoms, arrange for a coronavirus test and isolate yourself in your home.
Readers have asked the following questions about the social distancing restrictions in place from May 18:
Can you travel across the state to use an open business, e.g. a restaurant or shop? For example, if I live in Launceston, can I make a booking and go for dinner with my mum in Hobart?
Can I travel more than 30km to go to the beach?
Only if the beach is not part of a national park or reserve. Council-owned beaches are open at the discretion of individual councils, it would be best to call and check before setting out.
Can you spend the night at somebody's house? For example, I live in Queenstown and want to go and visit family in Launceston at their house. It's a long way to go so I want to stay the night and drive back the next morning. Is this allowed?
This is a grey area. It is not recommended, and you should make a judgement call as to whether you staying the night is necessary. Staying the night because that is the only way to see your partner, or a close family member who hasn't seen anybody since prior to the lockdown, is a very different thing to five friends sleeping over as a social event.
Legally, the order is open to interpretation. One of the reasons you're allowed to leave your home is to go to somebody else's home, as long as there are five or fewer visitors. The Public Health Order says if you are "required to reside there" you must not stay for "longer than is necessary to carry out that purpose". The "purpose" referred to is a social call at somebody's house. So it's not clear how long would be considered legally necessary to carry out that purpose, and it is at the discretion of authorities. It's best to err on the side of caution.
You definitely are not allowed to go to a shack, to a tourist accommodation, or camping.
Can I travel more than 30km from my home to visit a friend and then go to a park or reserve that is 30km from their home? For example, I live in Penguin and am taking my child to visit my brother and his child in Launceston. Can we all go for a walk in the Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area together?
No. You can travel across the state to go to a friend's house, but you are not allowed in a national park or reserve more than 30 kilometres from your home. You can, however, go to a council-owned park, which have been opening at the discretion of individual councils.
Can I go surfing, fishing, or mountain biking more than 30km from my house?
Only if it is not in a national park or reserve. You can also only launch a boat within your own council area.
When will the rule specifying that only five visitors or less are allowed in a home be lifted?
This will be reviewed on June 15.
You are only allowed to have five friends over at your house, but 10 people can be gathered at some other public places, like restaurants. Can I go to a restaurant with 10 of my friends?
You could call a restaurant and see if they will seat all 10 of you at one time. However, you won't all be able to sit together like in normal times - social distancing restrictions still apply, which means only one person per four metres squared is allowed.
What are the changes for FIFO workers?
All Tasmanian residents entering the state can quarantine for 14 days at home instead of in a hotel. Other people living in the house do not have to quarantine with them, unless someone has symptoms of a cold. FIFO workers can leave the state before their 14 days quarantine finishes to go to work interstate, but they will have to stay isolating in their homes each time a new period of less than 14 days in the state begins.
I have more than four children, which including me makes more than five people. Can we all visit somebody's house?
No. The five visitor limit on house visits includes children.
However, you can have more than five people, including children, gathered if it is to facilitate shared custody, guardianship, or other care arrangements.
Can I visit someone in hospital?
In most circumstances, no. The visiting rules for hospitals have not changed at this stage. You can visit someone in a hospital if you are:
- A person providing support to a patient for the birth of a child.
- A parent or guardian visiting a dependent child or adult who is a patient
- Visitors of patients receiving end of life care
- A person to provide assistance to a patient, if the patient requires physical assistance, assistance with communication or comprehension or assistance with any legal or administrative requirements
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