On Monday, the Victorian Premier announced that the state’s reopening roadmap would be announced on Sunday, following an “intense and extensive” round of consultations based around six principles for a COVID-safe reopening.
“We know every Victorian wants certainty about the future — for them, for their family and for their work. By the end of the week, we will lay out a plan to reopen our state,” Premier Dan Andrews said.
“Workplaces will need to look very different as we find our ‘COVID normal’. By working with business, we’ll make sure that can happen practically and safely.”
Mr Andrews’ six principles include:
- Ensuring physical distancing
- Wearing a face covering
- Requiring hygienic workplaces
- Acting quickly if staff become unwell
- Creating workforce bubbles
- Avoiding enclosed spaces wherever possible
The first round of talks with some 150 peak bodies, business owners and trade unions were held on Monday night, where the Andrews government is believed to have proposed a traffic light approach to exiting stage 4 restrictions.
Namely, according to ABC, the above six principles would be applied to four traffic-light levels of restrictions, across which the different sectors would be divided based on the estimated level of risk.
The traffic-light levels include closed (red), heavily restricted (orange), restricted (yellow) and open with a COVID-safe plan (green).
“We’ve said from the start that supporting our businesses will be crucial as we rebuild — that’s why we’re bringing them to the table as work continues on our future roadmap,” Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said on Monday.
“Over the next few days, we’ll be talking through our COVID-safe principles to ensure businesses can survive, adapt and, most importantly, open up safely.”
Also on Monday, Damian Scattini, a partner at Sydney-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, confirmed for MyBusiness that an open class action has been launched against the Victorian government for failures in the state’s hotel quarantine program that culminated in the country’s toughest ever COVID-19 lockdown measures, which forced thousands of businesses to close their doors.
“These businesses, many of them mum and dad operations, need help now. As things stand, there is no plan for them,” Mr Scattini told MyBusiness.
“The class action provides a path to compensation for losses that were beyond their control and not brought about by them.”
The class action is open to all Victoria-based businesses that supply goods or services to the general public and that were forced to close after 1 July.