Canberra, April 30 (IANS) The government of Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) on Thursday announced a p;an to gradually lift restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner released the NT’s “Roadmap to the New Normal”, becoming the country’s first state or territory leader to announce a plan to roll back coronavirus restrictions, reports Xinhua news agency.
The NT has had only 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19, by far the fewest of any of the eight states and territories.
“Today we make our first steps on the road to recovery, because we are the safest place in Australia, we can do this before the rest of Australia,” Gunner said.
“This is the Territory’s roadmap to our new normal. I call it that because the whole idea is to get your lives as close to normal as possible, without putting you at risk.”
From midday Friday, people in the NT will be able to use parks, playgrounds and swimming pools or play outdoor non-contact sports such as tennis and golf.
Limits on the number of attendees allowed at outdoor weddings and funerals will be lifted.
On May 15, people across the NT will be allowed to return to gyms, restaurants, cafes, libraries and museums for a maximum of two hours.
The time limit will be lifted and all other businesses and venues will be allowed to open from June 5 on the condition that they have a COVID-19 safety plan.
Gunner urged citizens to continue to follow social distancing guidelines and strict hygiene protocols even after the restrictions are lifted.
“If you want to stay the safest place in Australia, if you want to have a beer at the pub, to fish with your mates, to go to the gym, I need you to follow the rules and keep your distance,” he said.
“I’m not asking you to walk around with a tape measure, I’m asking you to use your common sense.”
Australia has so far 6,752 coronavirus cases, with 91 deaths.