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PM reopens retail in three-stage virus exit plan

Australia’s first phase of relaxing coronavirus restrictions will reopen cafes, restaurants and shops, with public gatherings of up to 10 people also allowed.

National cabinet has release a three-phase plan, with states and territories to determine which level they adopt, with an aim of ending restrictions in July.

Under the first step, people will work from home only if it suits and home visits of up to five people will be allowed.

Businesses will be able to entertain up to 10 people at once, with small restaurants, cafes and retailers cleared to open in the first stage.

The second stage will allow businesses to welcome up to 20 people, which the third stage will up this number to 100.

Ahead of the meeting, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said national cabinet would be provided with advice on the next batch of rule changes.

“At least it gives all Australians a vision of the nature of the restrictions that are going to be eased and what’s likely to happen next,” she told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

NSW and Victoria have signalled a cautious approach with outbreaks active in a nursing home and abattoir respectively.

WA is at the other end of the scale with low infection rates and hard border closures giving the state a better starting point to take the next steps.

Premier Mark McGowan said he expected national cabinet to provide baseline restrictions for states to work within

“Clearly Western Australia has the opportunity to be more economically progressive than other states,” he told reporters in Perth.

States are expected to unveil plans giving residents more detail from Sunday onwards.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton confirmed the path out of shutdown measures would be a three-stage process giving premiers and chief ministers discretion.

He said the NT could afford to be more aggressive in reopening its economy, while Victoria was at a different point because of the meatworks outbreak.

“There are good reasons for premiers to be making these decisions,” Mr Dutton told Sky News.

The senior federal cabinet minister said containing outbreaks would be crucial to making sure restrictions didn’t have to be reapplied.

“We want to get people back to work,” Mr Dutton said.

“We want to get their restaurants and small businesses reopened and these are important steps that will be discussed today.”

Queensland is allowing groups of five to visit other houses from Mother’s Day, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk framing it as a reward for achieving good infection results.

Mr Morrison met via video with leaders from Israel, Denmark, Singapore, Greece, Czech Republic and Norway on Thursday night.

The First Movers COVID Group, which include countries who have been relatively successful in containing the virus, discussed economic restarts, scientific cooperation and managing outbreaks.

The prime minister also reiterated his push for an inquiry into the response to coronavirus, which has strained relations with China.

There have been 97 deaths from coronavirus in Australia, while more than 6000 of the 6897 people infected have recovered.


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