Australia is facing "far more draconian measures to enforce social distancing", as too many people don't seem to be getting the message, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr on Sunday afternoon joined Mr Morrison in criticising the people - including some Canberrans - who appeared not to be heeding the calls for people to practice social distancing to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday evening, he announced all non-essential services in the ACT would be closed within 48 hours.
"Despite measures in place to discourage social interaction, there are still too many instances where people are exposing themselves to contracting the virus which is leading to an unsustainable increase in confirmed cases across the country," Mr Barr said.
Josh and Alyssa Thomson were at Kingston Foreshore on Sunday afternoon, having come down from Sydney to visit their friend, Claudia Porst. Mr Thomson said social distancing and the coronavirus pandemic hadn't discouraged them from eating lunch out.
Ms Porst said: "[Coronavirus is] not technically effective to us, because one, we're not part of the age group that are obviously having that hard time with it, and two, once you get it, you've got it.
"So, what's the point in having this massive thing?
"Everyone gets it and after you get it, you're done with it - it's a flu."
The trio were skeptical on how social distancing could be enforced. Mr Thomson said: "We may as well get [coronavirus] while we're fit and healthy.
"I'm not going out there to go, 'Hey, can you cough on me?', but I don't want it to affect our day-to-day lives, [although] clearly it is."
Ahead of announcing the forced closure of non-essential services, Mr Barr expressed his alarm and concern at the many people who had been flouting the heightened warnings about social distance and gathering in large numbers in bars, restaurants and public places.
On Sunday afternoon he foreshadowed "further community education and further engagement".
"We understand the economic impact of this but what has been announced by the Prime Minister and Treasurer today [Sunday] should give people some comfort they will be supported through this period until we get to the other side," Mr Barr said.
Before the shutdown was announced on Sunday, La Rustica co-owner Peter Callipari said the restaurant had seen a downturn in business of 60 per cent. Co-owner Katrina Callipari said while the restaurant was complying with all guidance around social distancing, it had proved difficult in some cases.
"On Friday night, we had one lady that ... wanted distancing between her own family," Ms Callipari said.
"I'm like, 'Well you're going home with family, why you can't you sit next to your family?'
"That's something that mind boggles me as well."
Public places where people gather in the ACT will be closed from Monday, and the ACT government will be urging the Commonwealth to take similar action with the spaces it controls.
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