Letter to Member; Restrictions On Gathering And Movement, JobKeeper Payment and Qantas Status (COVID-19 Update)

March 31, 2020

Dear Member / Friend,

Qantas as you know has cut back its service to Armidale to 12 flights per week. It is likely that it will cut services further in the very near future and may result in all flights to Armidale being suspended until May 2020.

Movements are highly restricted at present and so the number of travellers has drastically reduced. Never the less if Armidale was to lose all flights that may result in the loss some essential medical services as well as other essential travel. The Chamber will urgently lobby the Local, State and Federal Governments to have at least one flight a day during this very difficult period. Maintaining services to regional NSW is essential both for usual use and development of regional areas.


Yesterday, a Public Health Order was issued by the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research. The Order is, of course, relevant for individuals and businesses. Here is a Health Department link setting out details of the Order: https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/public-health-orders

The Minister directs that a person must not, without reasonable excuse, leave the person’s place of residence. Examples of reasonable excuses are:

  • Work (where you cannot work remotely);
  • School or an educational institution
  • Obtaining food or other essential goods and services for the personal needs of the household;
  • Getting medical care or supplies, or fulfilling carers responsibilities;
  • Travelling for the purpose of attending childcare (including picking up or dropping off another person at childcare);
  • Attending a wedding (5 person limit) or funeral (10 person limit);
  • Moving to a new place of residence, including a business moving to new premises, or between different places of residence of the person or inspecting a potential new place of residence;
  • Providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person;
  • Donating blood;
  • Undertaking legal obligations;
  • Accessing public services;
  • Contact arrangements where children who do not live with a sibling or parent;
  • Priest or Minister going to a place of worship or providing pastoral care;
  • Avoiding injury or illness or to escape risk of harm; and
  • Emergencies or compassionate reasons.

The two (2) person rule in a public place is in force. It does not apply to a variety of circumstances such as weddings or funerals, and also does not apply to a gathering:

  • For the purpose of work;
  • Where the people gathered are all of the same household;
  • To facilitate a move to a new place or business moving to new premises;
  • To provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person;
  • Necessary for a person to fulfil a legal obligation (including attending court, satisfying bail requirements, or participating in legal proceedings);
  • At airports;
  • In relation to other transport;
  • Emergencies;
  • At a disability or aged care facility;
  • At a supermarket or retail store that predominately sells food;
  • At an office building, farm, factory, warehouse or mining or construction site that is necessary for the normal operation of the tenants of those places;
  • At a school or university;
  • At a hotel, motel or other accommodation that is necessary for their normal operation; and
  • At an outdoor place (such as a mall) where 2 or more people are moving through the place.
  • If you are the occupier or operator at the premises in NSW you cannot allow people to enter or stay on the premises if the size or the premises is insufficient to ensure there is four (4) square metres of space for each person on the premises.

This does not apply to a person’s place of residence or to gatherings of the type referred to earlier.

The NSW Government has introduced fines and penalties for people breaking rules in relation to social interaction. From midnight last night (30 March 2020) a range of penalties are in place. For Corporations there is a maximum penalty of $55,000 and a further $27,500 for each day the offence continues.

For individuals in breach of the order there is a maximum fine of $11,000 or imprisonment for 6 months, or both. For each day that the offence continues there is a penalty of $5,500.

There is also an on-the – spot fine of $1,000.

By way of update and more detailed information here is a link to a Treasury Fact Sheet Supporting Businesses to Retain Jobs dated 31 March 2020: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus

As soon as I know further about QANTAS I will post the news. In the meantime the more stringent we are with social distancing the quicker we will get back to pre -virus life.

Best Wishes,


Anthony Fox

Armidale Business Chamber

m. 0402 838 077


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