Sydney News: COVID-19 restrictions on public transport to ease, rental prices hit record high


COVID-19 restrictions will be eased on public transport from next Monday as the government continues to encourage more people to return to the office.

Capacity will jump to 75 per cent in Sydney, all caps will be lifted on regional public transport.and people will no longer have to allocate spare seats between themselves and others.

In December last year, capacity was lifted to 55 per cent on trains, 45 per cent on buses, 51 per cent on ferries and 25 per cent on light rail.

Last month, face masks became no longer mandatory on public transport and are now only recommended.

Sydney’s housing rental prices hit record highs in the March quarter along with most other capital cities.

In Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Sutherland, outer south-west, outer west and Blue Mountains regions, rental prices are still rising along with demand.

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Restrictions on travel and outdoor meetings ease in Scotland


S

ome coronavirus travel restrictions have been removed in Scotland and more people are now able to meet up outdoors.

The latest stage in lockdown easing was announced at an unscheduled Covid-19 briefing by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday.

She said the continued decline in virus cases meant the restrictions can be eased earlier than planned.

From Friday, Scots can travel across local authority boundaries for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise.

But they must follow the “stay local” order for other purposes such as non-essential shopping, and travel to some islands is not allowed.

Rules on gatherings have also been relaxed, with groups of up to six adults from six households now allowed to meet outdoors.

Children under 12 do not count towards the limit.

The easing comes after barbers and hairdressers opened on April 5 and ahead of a more substantial unlocking of the country on April 26.

On that date, Scotland will move from Level 4 to Level 3 of the four-tier system of restrictions.

Cafes, restaurants and beer gardens can then reopen, along with shops, gyms, libraries and museums.

Travel between Scotland, England and Wales will be permitted and tourist accommodation can welcome back visitors.

Other restrictions will ease in May and over the summer if Covid-19 continues to be suppressed.

Nicola Sturgeon / PA Archive

Announcing the measures on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said: “We have always said we will keep plans under review and accelerate the lifting of restrictions if possible.

“The improved data does not allow us to throw caution to the wind – not if we are sensible – but it does give us a bit of limited headroom.

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Queensland’s coronavirus restrictions are set to ease on Thursday. What happens next?


At a press conference on Wednesday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the restrictions would be relaxed from 6:00am, slightly earlier than the initially anticipated time of midday.

So, what does that mean? Here’s a reminder.

The shift back to previous advice means looser rules on wearing masks.

There will be no legal requirement to wear masks indoors — including grocery shopping, on public transport, or in restaurants and pubs when not eating or drinking.

However, Premier Palaszczuk is continuing to encourage people to carry a mask and wear it wherever they cannot socially distance.

Masks will still need to be worn inside airports and on planes — that’s an Australia-wide requirement.

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Brazil’s Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro ease restrictions despite record COVID deaths


FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
FILE PHOTO: A man waves a Brazilian flag during a protest against new measures implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 26, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes/File Photo

April 9, 2021

By Eduardo Simões and Rodrigo Viga Gaier

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s Sao Paulo state and the city of Rio de Janeiro are easing restrictions on hospitality businesses and other activities, authorities said on Friday, even as Latin America’s largest country continues to break its own grim records for daily COVID-19 deaths.

Sao Paulo will allow customers to pick up takeaway food from bars and restaurants starting on Monday, while professional sports games will be permitted without crowds, along with a series of other specific activities, Vice-Governor Rodrigo Garcia told journalists.

In the city of Rio de Janeiro, officials on Friday lifted a broad set of restrictions put in place in late March. Bars, restaurants and malls can resume in-person service, though beaches and parks remain closed and an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect.

Daily deaths remain near historic highs in both Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, and Rio de Janeiro, the country’s second biggest city. Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and Sao Paulo’s Garcia both pointed to decreased pressure on local hospital systems when discussing their decisions to ease restrictions.

“Easing (restrictions) doesn’t have to do with deaths, but rather the most current data regarding urgent and emergency care,” Paes said.

Brazil on Thursday set a daily record of 4,249 COVID-19 deaths, over 1,500 of which were registered in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, which has emerged as a hotspot in Brazil’s current coronavirus wave.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes in Sao Paulo and Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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Bums on seats: Vic venue restrictions lift


Melbourne’s Thornbury Picture House is finally permitted to sell every seat in the house, after the Victorian government allowed entertainment venues to run at 100 per cent capacity.

The cinema’s owner Gus Berger told AAP the relaxed rules are the difference between running at a loss and turning a profit at his 60-seat venue.

“We’ve been losing money every night since we reopened under COVID restrictions … this will make a really big difference for us,” he said.

The Victorian government lifted restrictions on venues with fewer than 1000 seats at midnight on Friday.

It’s the first time in about a year venues have been allowed to run at full capacity.

Under the relaxed rules, venues with a capacity of less than 1000 can fill every seat, while bigger venues must apply for consideration under the state’s rules for public events.

This will apply to theatres, cinemas, music halls, concert halls, auditoriums, galleries, museums and sports facilities.

Cinemas were one of the first industries to shut down when COVID hit, and were one of the last to reopen.

Mr Berger said the cinema resorted to selling takeaway popcorn and choc tops on Saturday nights during the year of COVID restrictions.

“2020 was a shocker for us, as it was for many,” he said.

“We do hope people will have the confidence to come back to cinemas.”

The state government says a “density quotient” of one person for every two square metres will still apply in areas such as lobbies, and people will still have to “check in”.

“Designated empty chairs at these venues can now be filled – and that’s a big moment for operators who will be able to run at 100 per cent seated capacity,” Health Minister Martin Foley said on Friday.



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The latest coronavirus restrictions in Queensland after Brisbane’s lockdown ends



Greater Brisbane's three-day lockdown is over but restrictions remain across Queensland until Thursday, April 15. Here's a breakdown of the rules when it comes to mask-wearing, gatherings, hospitals and, of course, dancing. Restricted: MasksQueenslanders must carry a face mask at all times when leaving home. Masks must be worn in the following indoor spaces:Shopping centres, supermarkets, and all other indoor shopping venuesHospitals and aged care facilitiesRestaurants and cafes, although you don't need to wear a mask when you're seated and eating or drinking.Churches and places of worshipLibrariesIndoor gyms and recreational facilities, except if you're doing strenuous exercise including high-intensity interval training, cycling and runningIndoor workplaces where you can't physically distance Public transport, taxis and rideshare services, including in the queues for this transportIn airports and travelling on planesWhen outdoors, masks are strongly recommended in situations where you cannot maintain a 1.5-metre distance from others. Exemptions include:Children aged under 12Eating and drinkingMedical reasonsIn workplaces and situations where wearing masks isn't safeTo communicate clearly For identification purposesEmergenciesRestricted: Hospitals and careVisitors to hospitals and aged care facilities are restricted across Queensland. Visits to hospitals are limited to:The parent, guardian or carer for a patient under 18Visiting a patient at the end of their lifeA partner or support person for a patient admitted for care related to their pregnancyA support worker or informal carer providing support for someone with a disabilityAny other visitors must get approval from the hospital and all people entering hospitals, except for patients, must wear a face mask.Visits to aged care facilities are limited to end-of-life situations and people providing an essential purpose. Just like hospitals, all people entering a facility – except for residents – must wear a face mask.Visits to disability accommodation services is also limited to end-of-life situations and people providing an essential purpose. Anyone entering must also wear a face mask.Moderate: GatheringsIn Queensland gatherings in people's homes are limited to 30 people in total.Up to 500 people can gather outside in public spaces.Moderate: Weddings and funeralsFunerals and weddings are limited to 200 attendees, regardless of the size of the venue,Masks must be worn by all guests at weddings, except for the bride and groom, and venues will be subject to a one-person-per-2-square-metre rule.Moderate: FoodCafes, pubs and restaurants are open, and dining in is allowed although customers must be seated and no dancing is allowed.Mask rules may also apply.Moderate: EntertainmentAll entertainment venues, including nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, music and concert halls, casinos, gaming venues, galleries, museums and libraries are open. Mask rules may apply, and venues must observe a rule of one person per 2 square metres. Dancing is not allowed in nightclub venues.Stadiums and performance venues can operate at 100 per cent capacity if they are ticked and seated events.Unrestricted: MovementPeople in Queensland are free to leave home for any purpose and are free to move around the state. Travelling interstate is also allowed, but will be subject to other state and territories' border restrictions. Unrestricted: Education and childcareSchools and daycare centres across Queensland will be open, although schools won't resume until after the school holidays.Unrestricted: WorkplacesAll Queensland workers are able to attend their workplaces, although mask rules may apply.Unrestricted: ShoppingThere are no restrictions when it comes to shopping, but mask rules and customer limits may apply.A rule of one person per 2 square metres applies. Unrestricted: Beauty servicesHairdressers, spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlours, massage and water-based spa services are open.Mask rules will apply and venues must enforce a rule of one person per 2 square metres.Unrestricted: Sport and exerciseNo restrictions apply, but mask rules and attendee limits must be observed. Gyms and other sport and recreational facilities will be limited to one person per 2 square metres.Unrestricted: Places of worshipPlaces of worship are open, but will be subject to a limit of one person per 2 square metres. Unrestricted: Real estateReal estate auctions and open house inspections can go ahead, but mask rules apply. Unrestricted: Public spacesPublic swimming pools, parks, libraries, museums and galleries are open, but mask rules may apply.Unrestricted: Travel and tourismPeople in Queensland are free to leave home for any purpose and are free to move around the state.Tour services may be subject to mask rules and capacity limits. Travelling interstate is also allowed, but will be subject to other state and territories' border restrictions. Unrestricted: CurfewNo curfew has been imposed.Posted 4ddays agoThuThursday 1 AprApril 2021 at 3:24amShareCopy linkFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsAppMore on:QLDBrisbaneIpswichRedland BayLoganGladstoneCOVID-19Government and PoliticsLaw, Crime and JusticeTravel and TourismHospitalitySchoolsAged Care

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Greater Brisbane lockdown has lifted but restrictions remain for two weeks: Coronavirus essential information for Queensland


The Greater Brisbane lockdown is to be lifted but restrictions will remain for the next 14 days including mask-wearing and limits on gatherings.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the lockdown will lift from noon Thursday.

It comes after Queensland recorded 10 cases overnight, with nine of the cases in hotel quarantine and one community case who was already in quarantine and is linked to a known cluster.

Among the restrictions in place until noon April 15, all Queenslanders are required to carry a mask with them when they leave home, and wear them in indoors including shopping centres, supermarkets, indoor workplaces where you can’t socially distance and public transport.

Businesses can reopen but they must adhere to the one-person-per-two-square-metre rule.

In all hospitality venues people must remain seated, unless they are ordering beverages or drinks and then return to their seats, and dancing is banned in indoor public venues.

Household gatherings have been limited to 30 people.

Outdoor events can still go ahead if they have a COVID-safe plan.

Queensland health authorities have revealed that there are two clusters of community transmission in the latest outbreak.

The first cluster related to a Princess Alexandra Hospital doctor whose positive test results were announced on March 12, which involves eight cases.

The second cluster relates to a Princess Alexandra Hospital nurse and a Byron Bay party. The nurse’s positive test results were revealed on Monday, March 29 and involves 12 people.

Read our live blog for the latest news.

Masks

Everyone in Queensland must take a mask when they leave their home unless they have a lawful reason not to wear one.

Here are the reasons you need to put it on.

Teachers and childcare workers are not required to wear masks when they are with students, but should when they are with adults and cannot socially distance themselves.

Children under 12 years of age, or those with certain medical conditions are not required to wear a mask.

If you are outdoors and cannot socially distance, put a mask on.

Face masks can be a communication barrier for people who need to lip read, are deaf or have hearing impairments.

Contact tracing

The full list of contact tracing sites in Brisbane and the Gold Coast is here.

There is information here about what you need to do if you have been to a place on the contact tracing link.

Travel restrictions

The Premier announced Greater Brisbane was no longer a hotspot and urged her state and territory counterparts to do the same. But anyone who travels into Queensland must follow the restrictions in place from noon April 1. Here’s some more information.

Gatherings

Household gatherings have been limited to 30 people.

Outdoor events can go ahead, provided organisers have a COVID-safe plan.

Visits to aged care, hospitals

Only end-of-life visitors are permitted at aged care homes, disability accommodation services, hospitals and prisons.

Church and places of worship

Churches and places of worship can reopen to 100 per cent occupancy if they have allocated seating or adhere to the one-person-per-two-square-metre-rule.

Hotlines

If you have questions about COVID-19 or are seeking information about a public health direction or exemptions call 134 COVID (134 268).

Call 13 HEALTH (13 432 584) for health information, advice or referral services. This number is available 24/7.

Queensland Health information

For information about restrictions for Queensland visit the Queensland Health website here.

ABC coronavirus coverage

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Brisbane COVID outbreak sparks restrictions on players


In line with the lockdown rules, Bulldogs players are still able to leave their homes to buy essential supplies such as food and medicine, look after vulnerable people and exercise with members of their household or one other person.

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The Queensland government will review whether the lockdown will be extended on Wednesday. If it is extended, the Bulldogs may need to continue under lockdown restrictions which would threaten their clash against the Rabbitohs on Friday.

If the lockdown is lifted the Bulldogs will be tested on Thursday ahead of the captain’s run.

The Sharks are due to play the Cowboys on Saturday on the Sunshine Coast, and had originally planned to fly north on Thursday. They are now likely to fly in and out on the same day.

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Victoria COVID restrictions including masks and gatherings ease on Friday at 6pm


On the day that Victoria again reaches four straight weeks without a new locally transmitted COVID case, a raft of restrictions will ease.

On Tuesday, Acting Premier James Merlino and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton outlined the changes coming for masks, gatherings and density limits.

It all comes into effect at 6pm on Friday.

“We know the risk is far from over, but thanks to the incredible work of all Victorians we’re continuing to open up and return to the city and state we love,” Merlino said.

From 6pm, Victorians will no longer need to wear masks in retail settings, including at supermarkets.

But residents must still carry one with them at all times.

Masks are still required on public transport, in rideshare and taxis, at airports and when flying and in care facilities including aged care and hospital.

After 6pm on Friday, indoor gatherings at homes will increase from 30 people to 100.

Outdoor gatherings will be increased from 100 to 200.

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Schools closed, masks mandatory — here’s what you need to know about Brisbane’s lockdown restrictions


Six of the cases were acquired overseas and are in hotel quarantine but, worryingly, there are four new community cases of the highly infectious UK strain of the virus.

It takes the total number of cases in the latest cluster to seven.

Masks are mandatory.

The lockdown measures start at 5:00pm on Monday.

At this stage they will continue until 5:00pm on Thursday, just before the start of the Easter long weekend.

But it could be extended.

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