Image: MSN

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australian venues will have to close their doors from midday Monday 23rd March in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Prime Minister confirmed the news in a press conference moments ago after the states of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria said they would move to lockdown “non-essential” venues within 48 hours.

Mr Morrison said all the states and territories agreed on the tougher restrictions during a national cabinet meeting held on Sunday evening.

Under the new stage one restrictions, restaurants, cafes, registered and licensed clubs and licensed premises in hotels and pubs will have to close their doors by midday 23 March.

Cafes and restaurants will be restricted to takeaway and delivery. Speaking to reporters on Monday morning, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian encouraged venues owners to continue operating under the new conditions if possible.

The Prime Minister said the measures will be reviewed on a monthly basis, but are a result of Australians continuing to gather in large groups as normal over the weekend without practicing social distancing.

“We’re dealing with the principle places of social gatherings, we don’t have any confidence that people will refrain from gathering in those ways in those places, so because guidelines can’t be followed for public health reasons, we need to take further actions which shuts those gatherings down,” said Mr Morrison.

“Those are the principle places of social gatherings, which are our greatest risk.”

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