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Navigating the virus: Where to go, what to do and how to get help

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Cartoon by Paul Dorin / @DorinToons

Due to Scott Morrison's ever-confusing messaging, ranging from "don't panic, let's go to the footy" to "stay in lockdown or you'll go to gaol and we're all gonna die", Independent Australia has attempted to summarise the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thankfully, state premiers appear to be taking matters into their own hands, though for now, it seems, a political ceasefire is also in place between the states and the Federal Government. 

Essentially, major shutdowns have begun and both the Federal and state governments have enacted emergency powers, which impose fines and gaol terms if lockdown laws are breached.

So following on from the Prime Minister's National Cabinet meeting announcement yesterday, here's what the national lockdown means — at least for today.

1. Where can you go?

Essentially, you can go to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy, get petrol and have items delivered.

From midday 23 March 2020 the following restrictions will be enacted on a nationwide basis:

Businesses — CLOSED

  • pubs;
  • clubs;
  • cinemas;
  • casinos;
  • nightclubs;
  • indoor places of worship;
  • gyms; and
  • indoor sporting venues.

Businesses — OPEN

  • supermarkets;
  • convenience stores;
  • food delivery;
  • bottle shops;
  • hairdressers and beauticians;
  • banks;
  • petrol stations;
  • pharmacies;
  • restaurants and cafes — take away only;
  • freight and logistics; and
  • accommodation hotels.

Activities

As well, the following activities will now be limited:

  • non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more outside and 100 people inside;
  • non-essential travel;
  • entering aged care facilities;
  • non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per four square metres; and
  • where possible, keep one and a half metres between yourself and others;

Schools and childcare

All schools will still remain open, except in Victoria and the ACT, where they will close from tomorrow.

Childcare services will remain open at this stage, though this may change.

2. Medical assistance

For advice on COVID-19 symptoms, testing and social distancing, daily updates are available for each state and territory at the following links:

3. Stimulus package

The Federal Government has announced a new stimulus package but who can get it and how can you apply?

WORKERS AND WELFARE RECIPIENTS

Employees are able to access a $550 fortnightly "coronavirus supplement" for the next six months. Those receiving payments through Jobseeker (formerly known as Newstart), can claim both allowances.

Sole traders and casual workers will be eligible to receive the full supplement if they are currently earning less than $1,075 a fortnight.

If you're not eligible to receive the coronavirus supplement, you could still be able to claim a $750 stimulus payment for age pension recipients, carers and those on family tax benefits. This is in addition to an earlier $750 one-off stimulus payment announced earlier this month.

Deeming rates will also be reduced by a further 0.25 percentage points, which will affect the level of pension income assessment for many. 

Further details available here.

EMPLOYERS 

Eligible not-for-profits and small businesses with a turnover under $50 million will receive a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000 to help them retain staff and operating costs.

Further details available here.

We will attempt to provide further updates as they come to hand; the above information was correct at time of publication. 

You can follow executive editor Michelle Pini on Twitter @VMP9. You can also follow Independent Australia on Twitter at @independentaus or on Facebook HERE.

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