As coronavirus restrictions tighten
The Easter holidays for many Australians often mean large family gatherings, leisurely travel and attending places of worship.
As we head closer to the holidays, many are wondering what we can and cannot do in the face of tightening coronavirus restrictions.
Questions abound about what constitutes as "essential" travel, whether or not places of worship are open to the public, and whether we have the ability to visit friends and family.
Nine.com.au has compiled a list of what you can and cannot do this Easter to help you plan your time.
Can I travel this Easter?
For all states across Australia, the answer is a resounding no. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian made this abundantly clear when she said, "a lot of us had our hearts sold on going on holidays or doing something we'd normally do at Easter, and we can't this year."
"None of us can travel, none of us can go on holidays."
Even travel within states and territories will be restricted, and recreational areas will remain closed to the public, with Queensland's police commissioner Katarina Carroll saying beaches there would be "heavily patrolled" by police.
The message is that Australians must not travel, with exceptions made only for essential outings for groceries, medical appointments and exercise; even then the travel must be local.
Similarly in South Australia, Premier Steven Marshall says travel over the Easter break is "completely and utterly off".
"As we see the number of new infections stabilise, I don't want anybody to think we can relax the restrictions," he said.
The only state that has relaxed restrictions slightly is Victoria, with Premier Daniel Andrews allowing people to travel between properties that they own, while all other states are urging residents to remain in their primary place of residence only.
"It's not an Airbnb weekend. It's not a day-tripping weekend," Mr Andrews said.
"The only people who should be gathering is your own household, your immediate household."
Can I visit my family for Easter lunch?
Unfortunately for many, that is also a firm no.
With social distancing and isolation orders still in full force, nobody is permitted to gather indoors with more than two people – apart from with those in your immediate household.
Even within these gatherings, social distancing rules still apply: so no passing the salt.
These restrictions do however have a silver lining, as a family split over two households can meet together while observing social distancing measures (depending on your state rules), meaning you would be able to visit your parents, or no more than two other relatives in a single household, within state borders.
It's important to keep in mind that most states have their own recommendations when it comes to gathering with others outside of your immediate household.
For example in Victoria, visits from family and friends of any size should be avoided, unless it's to care for someone who is sick, elderly, disabled or pregnant, however visiting partners who live apart is an exception.
For Queenslanders, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also reinforced the state's rules about people from outside a household meeting.
In the state, people "may allow up to two visitors who are not ordinarily members of the person's household".
But that's only in private — in public, only two people can be out together, unless they're from the same household.
Restrictions in regards to gatherings for South Australians are considerably less strict, with the two-person rule being considered only as "strong advice". Provided your gathering has less than 10 people present, it is not prohibited.
Can I go shopping for my Easter lunch?
The good news here is, yes, you can continue to go grocery shopping for your Easter eggs, even if it means eating them alone in isolation.
All Australian supermarkets will continue to stay open in the lead-up to and over Easter, however they do warn to expect significant increase in traffic, meaning long queues outside the store due to social distancing measures.
The advice for all Australians is to get your Easter shopping done early and try to avoid any last-minute shopping trips around the holidays.
Can I go to church over Easter?
For over a fortnight, places of worship have been closed to the public. However, Scott Morrison has announced that in the lead-up to Easter, he will consider churches a "workplace" for some, meaning that those conducting formal Easter services will be permitted inside the building.
While the majority of the public will not have access to places of worship over Easter, there are alternative options for those wishing to worship at home.
Many Easter services will be livestreamed and posted on social media platforms for those wishing to participate virtually.
Pope Francis will be livestreaming Easter morning mass on Facebook at 11am in Rome, which is 7pm on Sunday (AEST).
A special sign language translation for people with hearing disabilities will also be available on YouTube.
How can I celebrate Easter at home?
While Easter celebrations this year will be severely restricted, there are many options made available for families of all kinds across Australia, including Woolworths selling Easter Show showbags for those now unable to attend the annual event.
For those wishing they were out in the wild, Taronga Zoo is offering livestreams of all their animal enclosures, meaning that you can bring the wilderness of the zoo right into your living room.
You can watch interviews with the zookeepers and will have the ability to get up close and personal with tigers, seals and elephants, as well as enjoying the different shows the park has to offer at any time of day.
Those in Victoria can also enjoy a virtual Easter egg hunt with Victorian Gardens Shopping Centre hiding eggs in each of their stores that can be found in pictures online. Prizes include a giant chocolate egg and a $100 voucher to spend in any of their centres.
And finally, for the grown-ups, you can participate in a virtual wine tasting tour of the at Ben Ean winery in the Hunter Valley. The vineyard is offering Skype sessions for anyone who orders a bottle of their wine, and will have their in-house sommelier discuss the flavour profiles of each sip.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-restrictions-easter-long-weekend-what-you-can-cant-do-australia/3ab1dc3c-4874-4c9e-846f-b517cec57674