Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his three-step plan to reopen Australia yesterday – but it is already causing chaos.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his three-step plan to reopen Australia yesterday – but it is already causing chaos.

Confusion as cafes reopen illegally

Aussies are finally looking forward to a return to normality after Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a three-step plan to a COVIDSafe Australia yesterday afternoon.

But within hours of announcing the recovery plan, confusion has already taken hold in Australia's largest city with Sydneysiders reporting a number of cafes had misunderstood the message - and opened prematurely.

Under the government's "step one", restaurants, cafes and shops will reopen with restrictions on customer numbers in place.

Non-work gatherings of up to 10 people will also be allowed as well as local and regional travel for recreation and a slew of other easings, while other restrictions will also gradually ease as we enter stages two and three.

While the whole country is aiming to reach stage three by July, it will be up to each individual state government to decide when to enter each phase - and so far, NSW has not adopted stage one.

However, that message doesn't seem to have been fully received, with reports some Sydney cafes have already incorrectly reopened today.

Taking to social media this morning, broadcaster Hamish Macdonald tweeted he had observed a number of eateries flouting the rules, which at the moment still restrict cafes and restaurants to takeaway and deliveries only.

"Clearly a bit of confusion about the '3-step plan' in Sydney cafes this morning. Some still doing takeaway only. Others have the tables and chairs out, enthusiastically telling customers they're now allowed to have up to 10 people …" he posted.

Scores of other Sydney residents have also weighed in to report similar breaches, although opinions were divided as to whether cafe owners were deliberately breaking the rules, or the government had simply bungled the message.

"And with that, it's taken Sydney cafe owners about three hours to mess this up for the rest of us," another Twitter user posted, while another said: "Those cafes are pretty naff not doing simple due diligence, check state government advice."

But others criticised the PM's handling of the information.

"I honestly think the only failure in all of this has been how government assumes people understand information. Messages need to be much much clearer (see @DanielAndrewsMP) and take into account how normal people outside the 'bubble' process information," one Twitter user claimed, while another posted: "ScoMo needs less waffle and to stick to clear concise communication".

Scott Morrison announced the road map yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
Scott Morrison announced the road map yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

In a statement released yesterday afternoon, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian made it clear the state would not immediately enter stage one.

"As I stated earlier this week - there will be no further change to restrictions in NSW this week," the statement reads.

"NSW will continue to keep our citizens updated on our path forward."

Currently NSW residents are allowed to have two visitors plus children, in their homes. Weddings are limited to five people and funerals to 10 people. Most beaches are open for exercise, swimming and surfing only.

From today, property inspections and on-site auctions are allowed as long as social distancing rules are followed and NSW students will start attending school in stages from May 11.

During yesterday's press conference, Mr Morrison said the impact of each restriction being lifted would be reviewed every three weeks, and stressed the three-step plan was "like the emu and the kangaroo, they go forward, not backwards".

"That's how this has to work," the Prime Minister said.

"Premiers and chief ministers are very keen to ensure that you continue to move forward. "Basically we'll go around the grounds of the premiers and the chief ministers and ask them how it's going."

Originally published as Confusion as cafes reopen illegally

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