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State by state: What’s reopening and where

Aidan Curtis and Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Aidan Curtis and Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
11 May 2020 6 minute readShare
Business opening

The Prime Minister has set out a three-step roadmap for Australia’s gradual path out of strict lockdowns, providing a light at the end of the tunnel for many businesses that have had their doors shut for over a month.

Following a meeting of the national cabinet on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison set out a three-step plan to put up to 850,000 people back in jobs in the months ahead.

“It is our goal to move through all of these steps to achieve that COVID-safe economy in July of this year.”


Mr Morrison, however, underlined that the states and territories will have the right to adapt and adopt the plan as they see fit. 

“States will and must move at their own pace, and will cut and paste out of this plan to suit their local circumstances,” PM Scott Morrison said.  


MyBusiness and sister title Accountants Daily have taken a closer look at what’s reopening and where.  


After last week suggesting that the state won’t be easing restrictions just yet, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday morning that from 11:59pm this Tuesday night, there’s now a fifth reason to leave home: visiting friends and family, with a maximum gathering of up to 10 outdoors and having up to five visitors in a home.

Mr Andrews stressed: “I know this will come as a welcome relief, but I need to be clear. Although these are our first steps back towards normalcy, they are not an invitation to host a dinner party every night of the week.

“It’s not about having a rotating roster of acquaintances and associates — or your third best friend from primary school — over for a visit. This is about seeing those you need to — if you need to.”



Weddings will now be able to have 10 guests and up to 20 people will be able to attend funerals held indoors and up to 30 if they’re outdoors.

While outdoor activities in groups of up to 10 will also be permitted, cafés and restaurants have not been given the green light to open just yet.

“I’m sure others would like us to go further. I’d take you through the obvious example, if you think about cafés and restaurants: my thinking here is that if we wait these three weeks, when we move to open, go beyond just takeaway, for cafés, we might not have to stick with the number of 10,” Mr Andrews said. 

“I think the feedback from many businesses is that at just 10 patrons, it’s hard to be viable.

“There will be a gradual opening up of the economy, gradual relaxation of these rules, but each step — and particularly the first step — has to be cautious, safe and appropriate to the circumstances and they are different to other states.”


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Sunday that, while the state was planning to ease some restrictions, it would not be following all of the national cabinet’s suggestions.

Cafés and restaurants will be allowed to have up to 10 people dining in under the relaxed restrictions from Friday, 15 May.

Similar to other states, weddings will be allowed to host 10 guests, while indoor funerals can see 20 people attend, with up to 30 allowed for outdoor funerals.

NSW will not, however, be permitting regional travel as Ms Berejiklian has said it is too soon to relax too many restrictions.

“My firm position during the crisis has been to follow the health advice and do what’s best for New South Wales,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 rates, especially community transmissions, to guide us towards easing further restrictions.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the COVID-19 fight was far from over.

“Without a vaccine, we need to be vigilant, especially when restrictions lift,” Mr Hazzard said.

“There will inevitably be more cases, so social distancing will become even more crucial.”

The NSW government confirmed it will consider steps two and three of the plan in due course. 

South Australia

SA Premier Steven Marshall announced that the state would begin to lift some restrictions on businesses from 11 May.

Cafés and restaurants in SA will be allowed to have outdoor dining for up to 10 people provided appropriate social distancing is observed.

Real estate will also see eased restrictions, with auctions and open inspections of up to 10 people to be allowed.

Mr Marshall also announced that restrictions will be lifted on camping and people travelling in caravans in a bid to encourage South Australians to head to regional areas to boost the local economy.

Further restriction easing will be considered at a later date, he said.


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said Queensland will ease restrictions from 11.59pm, Friday 15 May.

Dining in at restaurants, pubs, clubs, RSLs and cafes for a maximum of 10 patrons at one time as part of a gradual re-opening will be allowed, but there will be no bars or gaming.  

According to a roadmap released by Ms Palaszczuk, metropolitan Queensland will also see restrictions eased on retail shopping, open homes and auctions, and beauty therapy and nail salons.

The roadmap said “outback” Queensland will be allowed to dine in at restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered and licensed clubs, RSL clubs and hotels with a maximum of 20 people, which applies to locals only.

Ms Palaszczuk said she is hoping to reopen Queensland to interstate travel to restart the local economy by June, but will be permitting recreational travel of a radius of up to 150km for day trips from 15 May. 


The ACT has moved to quickly ease restrictions, with Chief Minister Andrew Barr announcing on Friday that restrictions were to be eased before the weekend.

While restaurants and cafés have been said to remain closed for now, Mr Barr said on Friday that open houses and auctions can resume with a maximum of 10 people.

Bootcamps were allowed to run outside, provided social distancing was maintained and people did not share equipment.

Restrictions were also eased to allow up to 10 people to attend a wedding, 20 people to attend an indoor funeral and 30 for an outdoor funeral.


Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announced on Friday that Tasmania would see stage one of the federal government’s plan implemented in increments.

From 11 May, Tasmanians will see restrictions eased around funerals and aged care visits, and some tertiary students will be allowed to return to campus.

More restrictions are set to be eased from 18 May, including restaurants and cafés being allowed to sit 10 people at a time with appropriate social distancing.

“This is a sector of the economy that has been hit the hardest,” Mr Gutwein said.

“The visible economy, especially and in terms of our pubs, clubs and many of the venues we have around the state, they were closed first and that has impacted on many businesses and employers and staff.”

Community and local government facilities and libraries will be allowed to open for up to 10 people, with outdoor parks, exercise equipment and bootcamps included.

Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend auctions, weddings and funerals, provided they are held outside.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory had already announced a plan to ease restrictions, with the first stage of the “new normal” plan commencing from 1 May.

Stage one saw people in the Northern Territory allowed to conduct or attend open house inspections or auctions, and shop at outdoor markets.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the Northern Territory will continue with its plan, with stage two of its roadmap set to commence from Friday, 15 May.

People will be able to attend shopping centre food courts, restaurants, cafés and bars as long as they purchase food.  

Beauty therapy salons for non-facial services such as nails, massage and tanning will also be reopened, along with fitness studios and gyms.

Western Australia

Western Australia started easing restrictions towards the end of April, allowing indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings of up to 10 people at weddings, funerals, outdoor personal training bootcamps, and open houses and display village inspections.

Under the national cabinet’s proposed plans, WA Premier Mark McGowan announced on Sunday that the state would start reopening its economy from 18 May.

Restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars and community clubs will be allowed to sit up to 20 people, provided they adhere to social distancing rules.

Indoor and outdoor fitness classes of up to 20 people will also be allowed, provided there is minimal sharing of equipment and people adhere to social distancing rules.

Mr McGowan also announced, however, that any business which reopened from 18 May would need to complete an official COVID-19 safety plan.

He said the details of the COVID-19 safety plan were going to be announced later.

The above information is current as of the time of publication.

State by state: What’s reopening and where
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Aidan Curtis and Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Aidan Curtis and Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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