- New 'Stage 1' social distancing directions in place across WA from 12 noon
- Facilities including pubs, bars, clubs, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, cultural institutions and places of worship to close immediately
- Restaurants and cafes restricted to takeaway
- As agreed at National Cabinet, WA schools to remain open until the end of term
Premier Mark McGowan has outlined immediate, severe changes that will be rolled out across the Western Australian community to assist in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Following today's State Disaster Council meeting, Mr McGowan outlined the Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings that will come into effect from 12 noon, Monday, March 23.
These decisions are based on the best medical advice in the country. Western Australians can expect the restrictions could be in place for at least six months.
As the Prime Minister outlined, the following facilities will need to close:
- Pubs, bars and registered and licenced clubs
- Gyms and indoor sporting venues
- Cinemas, entertainment venues, and casinos
- Cultural institutions including libraries, museums, art galleries
- Funerals in enclosed spaces. Excludes very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre of floor space rule applies
- Large religious gatherings and places of worship
Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and home delivery.
As agreed by National Cabinet, Western Australian schools will remain open until the end of the current school term. The official medical advice is clear - closing schools is not currently recommended for Australia.
However, if parents decide to not send their kids to school, they will not face any of the usual consequences. The McGowan Government understands that parents have the right to make their own choice in this regard.
Mr McGowan urged those who decide to keep their children home to abide by all other laws, including all new social distances rules that have been introduced.
Across the public school system, resources will be provided if parents choose to keep their children home, so they have the option to continue with an education program for the remainder of the term.
Stage 2 of restrictions will be considered and can be rolled out as needed. Western Australians should expect that these will be more extreme and impact on their lives even more.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"These measures have been put in place to protect all Western Australians. This is about saving lives. It's as simple as that.
"Coming to this decision with the Prime Minister and other State Leaders was not something that that we wanted to be doing. These are not decisions that we have taken lightly. But these are necessary measures to protect us all, and they are based on the best medical advice in the nation.
"This stage of restrictions will change the Western Australian life as we know it and we might need to go further in the coming days, weeks and months.
"I understand that these measures could potentially be devastating for many businesses and their employees. My heart goes out to those people, who have built up their businesses from scratch and now have had their lives turned upside down.
"If we don't go down this path, more and more people will be infected with COVID-19 and it will risk putting significant pressure on our health system.
"I thank those who are heeding the advice in regards to social distancing. Unfortunately, too many people in our community are disregarding these vital measures.
"By doing so, they are not just putting themselves at risk, they are putting the lives of older and vulnerable Australians at risk.
"Regarding schools, we will continue to make decisions based on the best medical advice in the nation. I understand that parents are concerned and may want to keep their kids home. We respect parents' right to make this choice.
"I call on every West Australian to do the right thing. This means listening to the advice, following the rules and performing your civic duty as Western Australians.
"I want to again, thank those amazing Western Australians doing an incredible job, in trying circumstances. Our health workers, our teachers, our police, truck drivers, shop assistants, cleaners and bus drivers.
"You are serving our community in the most difficult circumstances.
"I stress again - we will get through this, if we work together as Western Australians."
Premier's office - 6552 5000