PM’s message: ‘Easter will be different’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned Australians that Easter will be very different this year, as strict rules social-distancing and mass gathering rules remain in place over the long weekend.
In a video address, Mr Morrison said people won't be able to celebrate Easter like they normally would.
"It's still true that we'll be able to gather together in our immediate family, but there won't be the opportunity for that extended family gathering, special times I know, as well as going off to church and our religious services where we can remember the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ," he said.
"The coronavirus means this Easter will be different and we will be staying at home.
"And it's important because we cannot undo the tremendous progress we have made together in recent times."
The PM then addressed the Christian community, saying that not being able to gather during this time doesn't "diminish the hope that we have through this important Easter period".
"This year, we will live out our faith by doing the right thing," he said.
"That means staying at home, making sure we're checking on our neighbours and supporting our communities and families, our friends.
"That's what living our faith is all about."
Mr Morrison ended the message by wishing everyone in Australia a happy Easter.
"I hope it is a time as you come together in your homes, together with your immediate family, that it will be a strong reminder about what's most important," he said.
"Happy Easter, Australia."
The PM's message comes after officials warned that police would be out in droves this weekend to fine anyone caught "deliberately and blatantly" breaching social distancing, mass gathering or self-isolation rules.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said this Easter would be one of the "most important" weekends the country may face in terms of the coronavirus outbreak.
"As we go into Easter with welcome news for Australia, the virus does not take a holiday - therefore none of us can relax in what we do," Mr Hunt said today.
"This in many ways is the most important weekend we may face in the whole course of the virus.
"If we can lock in the gains that we've made as a nation through the courage and sacrifice of those on the health, medical and policing front lines, but also through the immense goodwill and discipline of Australians, then we can help really protect Australian lives going forward and give ourselves the pathway through."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she knows this weekend "will be difficult" but pleaded with people to "respect the rules".
"Especially to those of you who would normally attend a church service, I know this would be so difficult for many of you," she said.
"It may be the first Easter where you have not attended a church service or religious gathering, but we're all in this together and I appreciate what everyone is going through."
Ms Berejiklian says it will be a few weeks before there's enough data to lead us out of lockdown. "It's so important for us to stay vigilant," she said.
Originally published as PM's message: 'Easter will be different'