Confusion over PM’s gathering advice

Mr Morrison said the ban would apply to organised, “non-essential gatherings” of more than 500 people from Monday.

But he said people could still go about their normal, essential business.

“(The advice) of course does not include schools,” he said.

“It does not include university lectures. It does not mean people getting on public transport or going to airports or things of that nature.

“These events that we are seeking to advise against and restrict are our non-essential, organised gatherings of persons of 500 or more.”

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Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said the 500 figure was chosen based on the best available scientific modelling.

He said casual exposure walking through a train station or airport presented a much lower risk.

Mr Morrison said we might be watching football games on the television for a time.

But he said he was still planning to go to the Cronulla Sharks game this weekend before the ban kicks in.

“We will set the ground rules about how these events can be run in the future and I have no doubt that there will be strong co-operation from all of the (football) codes as to how they manage that,” he said.

No one is at the cricket today. Picture: Jacob PolychronisSource:Supplied

Mr Morrison said there would be issues to work through, for instance attendance at public galleries.

He said churches and places of worship would have to make arrangements in relation to how large their gatherings were.

“I suspect they will do something common sense like hold multiple services at different periods of time over the course of the weekend so all their parishioners can come along,” he said.

“But having more than a particular amount in one place at one time, I have no doubt they will honour the advice given to them about how many people should get together in one place on an organised basis for several hours.”

Mr Morrison said the move was a “common sense” precaution.

“What we are announcing today is just another step,” he said.

“It is precautionary. It is getting ahead of this to ensure that we can minimise the impact on your health and we can ensure with confidence the ability for people to be accessing the health services that they and their families will need.”

Michael Johnson, of Tourism Accommodation Australia, said they were still waiting on further details on how long the ban would last but he said the impact of the move would be huge.

“This is just another major blow to hotels,” he said.

He said the banning of sporting events would impact hotel accommodation greatly, following the announcement of the Grand Prix being cancelled today.

“If you think of all those hotels in Melbourne that are full of clients, they’ll probably be leaving Melbourne now,” he said.

“You’re going to have a situation where at those large conference hotels, any conferences will be off the table.”

“The advice of the medical experts still has to be taken into account, so it’s difficult to criticise, but I can confirm the impact on the industry is going to substantial.”


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