On Friday, the federal government announced it was banning all non-essential mass gatherings from Monday to protect Australians from the spread of coronavirus.
But what does this mean exactly, and how does it affect us as we go about our ordinary lives – for example, going to our local shopping centre?
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According to Scott Morrison, we can still attend venues where less than 500 people are present, and we are encouraged to go about our daily lives – to university lectures, school, shopping centres and so on.
After Friday’s announcement, the Chairman of the Shopping Centre Council of Australia, Peter Allen, released a statement in relation to the ban.
Allen is the CEO of Scentre Group, which owns and operates 42 Westfield shopping centres across Australia and New Zealand.
In the statement, Mr Allen said he welcomed the “measured approach and guidance regarding non-essential mass gatherings”.
“This approach excludes shopping centres as they are considered essential to the community,” the statement reads.
“The shopping centre industry is taking necessary precautions and following relevant health advice to support their people and customers in response to COVID-19 whilst balancing business continuity for the local community and broader economy.
“Shopping centres provide essential services to local communities such as food and groceries, pharmacies, medical clinics and many other goods and services.
“Members of the community should be confident to go about their day-to-day activities, including shopping.”
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‘Members of the community should be confident to go about their day-to-day activities, including shopping.’
Approximately 60 per cent of Australia’s GDP is the consumption of goods and services, Mr Allen said.
Shopping centres and retailers also employ a huge number of Australians.
“We consider our industry essential in delivering on the Government’s proposed economic stimulus and maintaining employment,” he sent.
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On Thursday, Scott Morrison announced a stimulus package in which certain Australians would receive a one-off payment of $750.
Recipients of the stimulus payment include recipients of Newstart, the disability support pension, carer’s allowance, youth allowance, veteran support payments or family tax benefits.
Commonwealth senior health cardholders and 2.4million aged pensioners will also receive the payment, which will be paid automatically on March 31.