The Rules On Whether You Can See Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced new restrictions on social gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
States and territories around the country have adopted the measure and introduced harsh penalties for those who break the rule.
But one question keeps getting asked: can I see my partner during the lockdown if I don't live with them?
The answer is tricky because health officials and government officials haven't been clear.
Victoria's Police Minister, Lisa Neville, responded to this exact question on Twitter, writing: "You cannot visit your partner for social reasons. There are select reasons you can go to the home of your partner."
Those select reasons allow you to welcome someone into your home only 'when they are providing you with care and support when you are unwell, disabled, elderly or pregnant'.
The Victorian government's advice clearly states: "Social visits from friends and family increase the risk of spreading coronavirus. Every interaction with another person carries the risk of transmission and should be avoided.
You cannot visit your partner for social reasons. There are select reasons you can go to the home of your partner. They are outlined clearly in the directives of the CHO which you can find and read at: https://t.co/lZt5A46ROh
- Lisa Neville (@LisanevilleMP) March 31, 2020
"You should not have visitors and in turn, you should not visit the homes of others during the Stay at Home direction."
However, the state's chief health officer directly contradicted this point and said that it is okay.
Considering Victoria and other states and territories take their advice from the chief health officer, it's fair to say that this advice will be the on to go off.
Regarding 'Stay at Home' rules: We have no desire to penalise individuals who are staying with or meeting their partners if they don't usually reside together. We'll be making an exemption. Hope that helps.- Chief Health Officer, Victoria (@VictorianCHO) April 1, 2020
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The Victorian website also states that 'if you need help with shopping, or if a friend or family member needs help, you can go to the supermarket or shopping centre together, observing physical distancing'.
So technically, you could meet up with your partner if it's practical.
But New South Wales Police have indicated that going to see your partner falls under the guise of care.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told a press conference: "I would put that under 'care', absolutely. Mental health, we get it that's under 'care'. We need to look after each other but don't take the whole family with you."
The state, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases, introduced 16 reasons why you're allowed to leave your home. Caring for someone was listed only if they are vulnerable, however Commissioner Fuller has today opened the restrictions to include partners.
The Northern Territory has agreed with the NSW model and will allow visits between partners. Other states and territories haven't made judgements on the matter.
Yesterday, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said: "People are allowed to meet in gatherings of two. If a particular State has made a ruling about entrance into houses, I will respectfully leave that to them.
"The National Cabinet decision was about people being able to go out in groups of two and to keep to households in addition to that."
These rules obviously also apply to casual hook-ups.
If you do decide to meet your partner, providing it is legal, then you should still practice social distancing, meaning sitting at least 1.5 metres apart.
Dr Norman Swan told ABC's Coronacast that if you can catchup with your partner, inside or outside, don't kiss or have sex.
He added: "The problem here is you're not living with them so you're not quite sure what each other's doing or who you've come in contact with. That's the problem."
Instead, you should probably keep your catchups to online to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
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