Berejiklian’s secret coronavirus freedom matrix

 

 

Easing restrictions on outdoor gatherings will be Premier Gladys Berejiklian's next focus in her bid to boost the economy while controlling the spread of the virus.

It can be revealed the government plans that removing the outdoor limit of two people will coincide roughly with lifting bans on outdoor gym equipment and playgrounds as the state gently winds back restrictions.

Amy Taylor at her Caringbah fashion boutique, which she will reopen next week. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Amy Taylor at her Caringbah fashion boutique, which she will reopen next week. Picture: Justin Lloyd

The measures have been identified in a top secret cabinet-in-confidence document which gauges economic and wellbeing reward versus COVID-19 risk.

These windbacks are not currently planned until at least late May, when Premier Berejiklian hopes the state has settled into the first wave of restrictions being eased such as family visits.

 

However there is a bloc of senior cabinet ministers - Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello - pushing for a faster relaxation.

The advice to government, contained in the cabinet document, rates the risk of virus spread from increasing the size of outdoor gatherings as "medium" while economic and wellbeing reward is considered "high".

For opening outdoor gyms and playgrounds, the virus risk spread is also rated as "medium", while well being is "high" and economic benefit only "medium".

 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is considering a secret cabinet document to determine how fast the state reopens from COVID-19 restrictions. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Premier Gladys Berejiklian is considering a secret cabinet document to determine how fast the state reopens from COVID-19 restrictions. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

 

This risk versus reward data is contained in the cabinet in confidence matrix, seen in part by The Daily Telegraph and being used to determine the "waves" in which the state reintroduces economic activity.

No time has been set for a return of dining restaurants and cafes, which are considered to be a higher risk for the spread of the virus despite having a significant economic benefit.

The government wants two week breaks between each wave of loosening of restrictions, with official health advice indicating that is the time frame it takes for the impact of more public activity to be reflected in the virus case load data.

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says things like sporting events will be among the last to have restrictions lifted. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says things like sporting events will be among the last to have restrictions lifted. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

 

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison said international travel, crowds attending large sporting events, large religious services and celebrations would be among the last activities to have restrictions eased.

"I can't see international travel occurring anytime soon," he said, adding the "only exception" to the travel ban was potentially New Zealand.

Mr Morrison said he looked forward to the easing of many domestic restrictions, including travel within Australia.

 

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is among ministers pushing for a faster reopening. Picture: Britta Campion
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is among ministers pushing for a faster reopening. Picture: Britta Campion

 

"I look forward to the time where they can sit down for a meal at a restaurant or a cafe or a pub again," he said.

"I look forward to the time where they can see, whether it is the AFL, the netball, the NRL, or whatever code they support, and being able to watch that again.

"But I can't see them going along to a game for a while, those larger mass gatherings."

The NSW matrix plots activities on an axis in the categories of economic reward, well-being benefit and virus risk.

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he can’t wait for sport like the NRL to return. Picture: NRL Photos
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he can’t wait for sport like the NRL to return. Picture: NRL Photos

 

The government has already announced the first wind-backs recommended by the matrix - the return to school and the allowance of at home visitors.

A gradual opening up of retail is also encouraged by the model, which has been reflected by the Premier saying it's "absolutely fine" for retail stores to reopen.

This week's decision to allow small home visits was rated as having a low economic benefit - but considered a move worth taking because it had a low virus risk and a high wellbeing benefit.

An encouragement to return to retail, which government is doing implicitly, is mapped on the matrix with a high economic benefit, medium virus risk and high wellbeing benefit.

 

Athlete's Foot is among the businesses set to reopen soon. Picture: Mark Wilson
Athlete's Foot is among the businesses set to reopen soon. Picture: Mark Wilson

 

The return to schools was considered to have a high economic benefit, high well being benefit and low virus risk.

It comes as a string of retail stores have begun to announce intentions to reopen.

Designer retailer Hérmes announced it will reopen its Sydney store today, Kidstuff has slowly started reopening select toy stores with altered trading hours, The Accent Group, which own brands Athletes Foot and Hype DC will be reopening some stores in the next two weeks, and the Brand Collective will open some of its stores including Superdry and Shoes and Socks next week.

Sydney-based formalwear designer Amy Taylor is set to throw away the 'Closed' sign on the door of her Caringbah boutique next week, reopening for client fittings and consultations on Tuesday.

"It's been difficult and I just can't wait to see my clients again now it's a bit safer," Ms Taylor said.

Originally published as Berejiklian's secret coronavirus freedom matrix