- Prime Minister Scott Morrison has repealed his government's restriction, mandating hair appointments go no longer than 30 minutes.
- Citing problems with its "practical implementation", Morrison wound back the limit minutes before many around the country were due to open. It maintains the rule mandating one person per four square metres, however.
- It comes as the Federal Government faces criticism over its mixed-messaging around the coronavirus and its various restrictions.
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The government has performed a complete turnaround on one of its coronavirus restrictions, just hours after announcing it to the public.
Releasing a statement at around 8 am on Thursday morning, just minutes before many hairdressers and barbers would have begun opening around the country for the first time under the new rules, the Federal Government revealed one of its most heavily-criticised restrictions was dead in the water.
"Following the receipt of feedback on the practical implementation of measures announced regarding barbers and hairdressers it was agreed by Premiers and Chief Ministers at National Cabinet last night that the instruction regarding 30 minutes per patron will be lifted, effective immediately," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, rolling back a restriction that had been effective since midnight. "[But] the 4 square metre rule per person must be strictly observed within the premises and that personal contact during the patron’s visit should be minimised wherever possible."
The decision came after many hairdressers, barbers, and customers pointed out hair appointments for women and those with more complex hairstyles often require several hours. That's not to mention how such a practice is enforced, or why 30 minutes – twice the period health authorities say can lead to transmission of COVID-19 – was deemed an effective restriction in the first place.
In the same statement, Morrison also conceded state and territory governments may grant exceptions to funeral attendance limits of 10 people but would only do so "at the margin" – meaning in exceptional circumstances.
It comes as the government faces criticism for its messaging surrounding the coronavirus and the restrictions it has implemented to contain its spread.
Federal, state and territory governments will meet again on Friday to discuss further measures.