The Northern Territory Government will begin re-opening some parks from Noon on Friday 1 May.
Territorians will have the opportunity to safely spend this long weekend camping, swimming or walking through our parks and reserves – enjoying the great outdoors and the Territory lifestyle that we all love.
This is the first significant step we are taking to adjust coronavirus-related restrictions in a steady and staged process, to keep people safe.
This decision does not apply to Commonwealth-owned parks, which are a matter for the Federal Government in consultation with traditional owners.
Parks that are in areas designated under the Commonwealth’s Biosecurity Act will start to re-open for people residing in those areas.
Today’s announcement allows NT Parks and Wildlife the time they need to undertake preparations for visitors, such as water testing.
Certain areas of parks that are not able to open because of other environmental and safety factors will remain closed. Many Territorians would be familiar with the need to wait until roads dry out, water levels drop, water quality improves and crocodile surveys can be completed before their favourite places become available for use.
While restrictions are being adjusted, it is expected that Territorians will continue to adhere to the current hygiene and physical distancing rules to ensure everyone can stay safe. This includes regular hand washing, covering a sneeze or cough with your elbow or a tissue, and maintaining 1.5m distance from people other than those from the same household.
Caps on numbers may be applied and park rangers and police will be monitoring parks to ensure people stay safe, maintain social distancing, and are respectful of others. If you visit a park this long weekend and don’t follow social distancing rules, you can expect that park rangers will be reporting your behaviour to the police.
We can take this action because we have made the Northern Territory the safest place in Australia – and we intend to keep it that way.
The NT has gone three weeks without a new positive case of COVID-19, and all but five cases are now fully recovered.
In the coming weeks, the Territory will gradually transition to a “new normal” – where Territorians can get back to business, back to work, and back to enjoying the Territory lifestyle, while also staying safe from coronavirus.
Further announcements on the transition plan will be made by the end of this week.
This transition has three parts:
- Controlling the borders: to keep the Territory safe and to stop coronavirus from spreading, our borders will stay secured.
- Rapid response: a “test, trace and trap” plan to contain any future outbreak, minimising the risk to the community.
- The new normal: Territorians enjoying their lives while also adhering to social distancing, cleaning and hygiene protocols.
While the gradual adjustment of restrictions is great news for all of us, it also increases the responsibility on all of us. We all have to do the right thing to keep ourselves safe and keep others safe, so we don’t have to go back to tougher restrictions.
There is no vaccine for coronavirus, which means we are safe in the Territory right now, but not immune.
This gradual transition will be closely monitored to ensure it is being done safely. Police will continue to have the powers they need to enforce rules on gatherings and quarantine compliance.
The Government will keep doing whatever it takes to keep Territorians safe.