Melbourne’s latest lockdown, which began on 6 August, has been extended and new restrictions are being implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the region.
A permit system, which came into effect on 17 August, mandates workers undertaking authorised employment must carry documentation proving their clearance to travel.
The permit system is largely consistent with the arrangements that were in place during Melbourne’s extended 2020 lockdown.
When working or when travelling to a workplace, authorised workers are now required to carry permits that must be signed by an employer, such as a company CEO, HR manager or operations manager.
Employers can issue a worker permit to their employee if the organisation is listed as an authorised provider under the new restrictions, the employee is working in an approved category for onsite work, and they are unable to work from home.
Permits are now available to be downloaded from Victoria’s coronavirus website.
Law enforcement, emergency services or healthcare workers who carry employer-issued photographic identification do not have to carry a worker permit as long as their identification clearly identifies the employer.
In addition, further restrictions will also apply to the construction industry, which must reduce staffing levels on all sites with the exception of those undertaking critical infrastructure and emergency repairs.
At large-scale construction sites, staffing must reduce to 25 per cent or five workers on site, whichever is higher. Small-scale construction sites are limited to five workers plus a supervisor at any one time.
No more than one worker is allowed per four square metres of enclosed workspace on any site.
All construction entities are required to limit movement between multiple projects. On large sites, workers, including supervisors and managers, are not allowed to work at more than one site unless it’s impractical for the supervisor to be limited to a single site.
On small projects, supervisors are allowed to move between sites and specialist contractors can operate on up to three sites per week.
Construction workers must wear face masks indoors and outdoors, and have their authorised worker permit onsite and while travelling to and from work.
Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, said the new measures, which included a city-wide curfew between the hours of 9pm and 5am nightly, were intended to cut down on the number of people moving through the city.
“At the moment, we have a steady number of cases who are out in the community each day, and an increasing number of mystery cases, and we need to get ahead of that. These new measures will help us limit movement so we can catch up and shut down this outbreak,” Mr Sutton said.
Premier Daniel Andrews characterised the new restrictions as difficult but necessary.
“These restrictions are hard work for every Victorian. Everyone wants this pandemic to be over, but the rules are in place for a reason — we know they work and if we follow them together, we’ll be able to lift them sooner,” Mr Andrews said.