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Should I Be Going Out During COVID-19?

With a new academic year fast approaching, many international students have recently arrived in Australia – and you may be one of them! Our cities have been waiting to welcome you, and we’re sure you’re just as excited to get out and explore them yourself.

Summer is a great time to get acquainted with your new city. You can explore shops, community services, places to relax and much more. You might even be able to start looking for a job, a prospect made all the more exciting given the temporary lift on working hour restrictions.

That said, when you arrive, you may have some concerns about whether or not it’s safe to go out during COVID-19. Let’s answer your questions so you can have fun and stay safe while exploring your new home.

Is Australia in lockdown?

No. While Australia has previously used lockdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19, its National Plan is now in Phase D. This means that the government is now managing case numbers without ongoing restrictions or lockdowns. Isolation is required for those who test positive to COVID-19 and for people who are deemed “close contacts”. The definition of a close contact differs between each state and territory in Australia, so it’s important to check the relevant government’s website for their particular rules.

Learn more about isolation and restrictions in your city, so you can stay up to date on government updates.

Should I be going out?

Because Australia is not currently in lockdown, you are permitted to visit a range of public venues. Keep in mind that you may need to show proof of vaccination to gain entry to certain establishments. As long as you meet the requirements for your city and each venue, you can go out to meet friends, exercise, shop, and visit restaurants or cafés.

However, you may have reservations about being in public, particularly due to the spread of the Omicron variant. In short, your decision to go out or stay in is a personal one, largely based on your own level of comfort.

Why are some places closed?

As you navigate your city, you may notice that certain establishments, such as office buildings, are closed. Many employees across the country are still being encouraged to work from home rather than come to the office. Similarly, some employees only come to the office one or two days per week, which makes for a quieter atmosphere.

Plus, given the very contagious nature of the Omicron variant, thousands of people are being sent into isolation every day. This means that certain businesses – such as cafés, bars, restaurants and shops – may be closed due to staff shortages.

How do I stay safe?

To be responsible and safe, we recommend creating a COVID-19 emergency kit, which you can use in the event you or someone you know tests positive. Supplies in your kit might include face masks, hand sanitiser and cleaning products.

You should also wear a mask whenever you are in public or near other people. Try to maintain social distancing of roughly 1.5 metres from other people.

Another important step is to maintain your hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and sanitise them when outside of your home.

Can I travel around Australia?

Yes. As long as you are fully vaccinated with a recognised or approved vaccine, you can travel around Australia (except Western Australia, which is set to open its border on 5 February 2022). It’s an amazing way to discover what the country has to offer.

Be sure to research the rules and regulations for the state you are visiting to remain as safe as possible.