Weddings and funerals in Australia will shrink dramatically as part of the National Cabinet’s latest round of coronavirus constraints.
“On places of worship and other such places, there has been a difficult decision made tonight,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison after meeting with leaders of all Australian states and territories.
“Large gathering for weddings, sadly, will not be possible.” – Scott Morrison
“Weddings can be conducted where it is just the couple, the celebrant and witness – five people,” outlined Morrison. “The four-square-metre rule must be observed.”
“Large gathering for weddings, sadly, will not be possible.
“Funerals are to [be] no more than ten persons, observing the four-square metre rules and social distancing practices.
“These are not easy decisions” but Morrison said some weddings and funerals already have been major transmitting events of COVID-19.
After Christian churches and other places of worship were left reeling by earlier announcements of closure, the addition of tight restrictions on two of the most prominent services they provide – weddings and funerals – will be another blow.
“Stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary that you go out.” – Scott Morrison
The latest update of social and economic restrictions also included a further list of non-essential workplaces which must close from midnight tomorrow night (Wednesday, March 25). Among the new closures are food courts and shopping centres (except for take-away options from food providers), as well as galleries, museums, community facilities and beauty therapists.
Schools remain officially open across Australia while the “do not travel overseas” advice has been escalated to a ban on international travel.
Closer to homes, Morrison did not bring in a national lockdown but advised: “Stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary that you go out.”
“Our goal is to get through this together, to follow common sense rules and doing the right thing.”
He also stopped short of prescribing the number of people who are able to visit someone’s house at any one time. “[I] don’t want to be overly specific; [I] want Australians to exercise common sense,” Morrison said.
He added that states and territories are considering whether to introduce criminal charges against those who organise house parties – a “nightclub” at home, as PM Morrison described them.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the real toll of the COVID-19 measures is upon Australians who are losing livelihoods, in the government’s bid to save lives.