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'No more heroics': Common workplace act banned after lockdown relaxed

·3-min read

Australians have been warned they need to break one common workplace habit in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus as lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said it was important people continued to practise physical social distancing “all the time” and everyone maintained “good hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene [and] everyone stays home when they're unwell".

"No matter how mild your cold or your cough, stay home when you're unwell, and please get a COVID test,” he told reporters on Friday.

Businessmen and women using computers and concentrating in a modern office environment.
Once people are allowed back in the office, they must practise good hand hygiene and stay home if they're unwell. Source: Getty

"That's the best way we'll find these hidden cases of the virus in our community, is if every single person who has any respiratory symptoms gets a COVID test and stays home.

"No more heroics of coming to work with a cough and a cold and a sore throat. That's off the agenda for every Australian for the foreseeable future."

Live coronavirus blog: The latest from Australia

Professor Murphy said the COVID safe plans for the workplaces were “really important”.

He said he believed there would be a permanent change to the “cavalier attitude” of going to work when you’ve got a cold or a flu.

“And I think that will be, even if COVID is gone – and we don’t know whether it will be fully gone from society – that would help with flu seasons and help with general health in the community,” he told reporters.

Pictured is Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy speaking during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.
Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says people must stay home from work if they're sick. Source: Getty

“So I think that one of the two permanent changes I can see forever is good quality hand hygiene, and that ‘stay at home if you’re unwell’ mentality.

“I think we’re all been guilty of that at various times. I know I have. We’re all going to have to change that mentality.”

Three-step path out of COVID-19

On Friday Scott Morrison told reporters there would be a three-step plan to lift restrictions, with all rules expected to be relaxed by July.

It will be up to states and territories to implement their own plans, with the national cabinet providing baselines.

The national cabinet will then review the stages every three weeks.

As part of stage one, gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed in business and public spaces, while five visitors are allowed at home.

People are still able to work from home if it works for the employee and employer.

Small restaurants, cafes and shopping will be open and children are expected to be back in the classroom.

Restrictions on boot camps, libraries, community centres and playgrounds will also be lifted and local and regional travel can resume.

Stage two will see gatherings of 20 people at home and in business and public spaces. Working from home will be the same as stage one and organised community sport will be back on the table.

Gyms, beauty parlours, cinemas, galleries and theme parks will also open under stage two, as well as caravan and camping grounds.

Some interstate travel will also likely be allowed.

Under stage three, people will return to their workplaces and gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted.

Pubs, clubs, nightclubs, food courts, saunas and some gaming venues will also reopen as all interstate travel resumes.

There will be discussions as to whether there can be cross-Tasman, Pacific island and international student travel.

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