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Victoria divides businesses into 3 categories, announces widespread closures

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic and Adrian Flores
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic and Adrian Flores
03 August 2020 3 minute readShare
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The Victorian Premier has divided businesses into three groups, with a large number of businesses in metropolitan Melbourne, including retail stores, set to close from Wednesday from 11.59pm for a period of six weeks.

Group one, Premier Dan Andrews announced, are stores exempted from the closures announced on Monday, including supermarkets, grocery food and liquor stores, petrol stations, pharmacies, post offices, specialist stationary services for business use, disability and health equipment, maternity supplies, motor vehicle parts for emergency repairs for agricultural retailers, and locksmiths. 

Group two are businesses set to close for a period of six weeks, including retail stores, some manufacturing facilities and admin businesses, which will be expected to shut from 11.59pm, Wednesday, unless they have specific circumstances that mean they need longer to shutdown safely. This includes retailers like Bunnings, Mr Andrews said, which will only be able to work onsite for the purposes of fulfilling online orders with strict safety protocols in place. 

"Retail will look very different than it's looked," said Mr Andrews. 

"It's critically important to have many people at home rather than at work and moving to and from work each and every day."

Included in the closures are personal care businesses, encompassing hairdressers, car washers and photographic film processors, as well as creative and performing arts activities.

Also among the businesses closed for on-site work are legal and accounting services; management and related consulting services; architectural, engineering and technical services; employment services; and office administrative services.

The third and final group, Mr Andrews explained, consists of businesses that will scale down their operations, such as those in the meat industry and construction.

According to the Premier, commercial building construction will be limited to 25 per cent of staff on site, while small scale construction, like residential construction, will only see five people on site at any one time.

Large-scale government projects will see their workforce cut in half. 

"We are moving them to a pilot light phase, not being turned off completely but they are dramatically reducing the number of people they have working for them and their output over the next six weeks," the Premier said. 

He stressed that all open businesses and services will have until 11:59pm Friday 7 August to enact a COVIDSafe plan focused on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace. 

To give one example, the Premier said workers in abattoirs will be kitted out in full PPE – gowns, masks and shields – more akin to what a nurse would wear. They’ll also be subject to routine testing.

For those businesses and industries that fall into grey areas when it comes to their operation, the dedicated Industry Coordination Centre within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions will consider their case.

"I understand this will have real and heavy consequences for a number of businesses, workers and their families. We’ll do everything we can to lighten that load," said Mr Andrews. 

The attached table outlines examples of workplaces that are closed for on-site work, open for on-site work with a COVID Safe Plan, and where there are restricted operations or industry specific obligations.

Other Melbourne stage 4 restrictions

Under stage 4 in Melbourne, restrictions include a curfew from 8pm to 5am. The only curfew exceptions include work, medical care and caregiving.

Exercise will be limited to a maximum of one hour per day and no more than 5 kilometres from a person’s home.

Group size will be limited to a maximum of two, regardless of whether the person lives with the other person or not.

Shopping will be limited to one person per household per day. The 5-kilometre rule will also apply.

Some common-sense exceptions can apply. For example, if a person’s closest supermarket is further than 5 kilometres, that person can still shop there.

Regional Victoria stage 3 restrictions

Much like the first lockdown in March, there will only be four permissible reasons for people in regional Victoria to be leaving their house:

  • Shopping for food and essential items
  • Care and caregiving
  • Daily exercise
  • Work and study if it can’t be done from home

The Premier confirmed on Monday that businesses in regional Victoria forced to close down as a result of stage 3 restrictions - including restaurants, cafes and gyms - will be eligible for a $5,000 grant.

Businesses in the metropolitan Melbourne area will be able to apply for an extra $5,000 grant on top of the grant previously announced by the Victorian government.

Victoria divides businesses into 3 categories, announces widespread closures
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic and Adrian Flores
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic and Adrian Flores

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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