Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled out international travel and big gatherings, but says he would like to reopen restaurants, bars and clubs, in a hint that the struggling industry might be in for some good news within weeks.
His comment comes as new analysis showed restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels are taking the biggest hit of any industry, expected to lose more than $8 billion in wages and profits over just four months from April 1.
The national cabinet is considering a timetable to lift restrictions on movement, with decisions to be made on May 11.
As it considers what comes first, Mr Morrison indicated he wants to see a restart to organised sport with national cabinet due to consider a code for professional sport, community sport and recreation this week.
Church services are further down the track.
Mr Morrison said he looked forward to the time when Australians could sit down for a meal at a restaurant or a cafe or a pub again.
"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," he said.
"I can see, I suppose, the opportunity for those seeking private prayer in a place of worship, I can see that happening. I can't necessarily, though, see large services occurring again."
International travel would not be allowed any time soon.
"Can't see that, the risks there are obvious," he said. "The only exception to that, as I have flagged, is potentially with New Zealand, and we have had some good discussions about that. But outside of that, that is unlikely."
Deloitte Access Economics principal Chris Richardson released analysis showing the food and accommodation sector would lose more than $8 billion if the current restrictions remained largely in place for four months.
Next is arts and recreation, with movie theatres, gyms, sports fields and other venues closed. He estimates the hit to wages and profits in that sector at about $6.5 billion over four months.
Mining is still open, but Mr Richardson said incomes were set to fall $5 billion short as it struggled to get workers to remote locations and with export earnings are taking a hit including from low gas prices.
While construction was still open, it, too, would take a $5 billion hit. Governments were trying to speed up projects, but private sector projects were being put on hold, as businesses reassessed the need to build.
"It's a trade off," Mr Richardson said. "We know we can get better outcomes on the economy at the risk of the virus getting away again, but Australia's done so superbly in reigning in the virus that baby steps are making increasing good sense."
The government says it will only ease rules on movement if it can ramp up testing and tracing of cases - and Mr Morrison said the new mobile phone app was "the ticket" to doing so.
With 2.8 million people having downloaded the mobile phone tracing app by Wednesday morning, Mr Morrison likened it to putting on sunscreen when you leave the house.
"I would ask for millions and millions and millions more to do the same thing," Mr Morrison said.
"I would liken it to the fact that if you want to go outside when the sun is shining, you have to put sunscreen on. This is the same thing."
The app, which allows authorities to identify people who have been in contact with a coronavirus case, is voluntary and the government has refused to specify a minimum number of downloads that would make it a useful tool.
But it is seeking to persuade people by tying the plan to ease restrictions to widespread take-up of the app.
"Download the app, COVIDSafe, please, please, because that will enable us to go further down that path," Mr Morrison said.
"It protects you, it protects your family, it protects your loved ones, it protects our health workers, and it protects your job, and the jobs of many others, because it enables us to move forward, and get the economy back on the track we want it to be on."
Mr Morrison said the privacy and legal protections were already in place, and the government would add "belts and braces" by passing legislation in May.
There were 13 new cases in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, to a total of 6741 cases and 89 deaths.
Mr Morrison is moving to define success against the coronavirus as more than reducing numbers of new cases. He said he wants "bigger picture success", which means protecting the economy and jobs.
"Having a low number of cases but having Australians out of work, having a low number of cases and children not receiving in-classroom education, having a low number of cases and businesses not being open, having a low number of cases and Australians not able to be going about their as normal lives as possible - that is not what success looks like," he said.
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