In what came as a surprise announcement, Premier Steven Marshall said the state will be placed into a major lockdown as of midnight 19 November, unlike any previously seen in Australia, to stop a second wave from developing after a fast-growing cluster emerged in Adelaide in recent days.
As of Thursday morning, all schools in the state are closed, outdoor exercise and sport is banned, the construction industry has come to a standstill, open inspections and auctions are barred, and all hospitality businesses have been forced to hang up their “Closed” signs, while also being forbidden from offering takeaway for the duration of the lockdown.
Reasons to leave home are very limited, including for the purpose of buying groceries or undertaking duties as an essential worker.
“What we know is that we’ve had to take this extreme action, this important intervention, to put a circuit breaker in place to deal with this disease. We have a particularly difficult strain of the disease, which is showing no symptoms for people who become infected,” Premier Marshall said.
But some business lobby groups and individuals have argued that the Premier could be overreacting given that there are currently only 22 COVID-19 infections in the state.
Australian Hotels Association SA CEO Ian Horne told local media that the lockdown will cost millions in lost wages and spoiled food.
“SA has now lost the most lucrative trading period of November and December which sustains industry through the slow times of the year,” Mr Horne told The Shout.
“This lockdown strategy will simply add to the continued pain and loss for business and their workers. The ramifications of this decision will add to industry failures.”
Conversely, Business SA has stood by the government.
“Business SA supports this shutdown and encourages every single business owner to support these measures. We stand by the SA government in doing the heavy lifting now before this outbreak runs out of control, resulting in potentially longer shutdowns and economic devastation,” the body tweeted.
In a video message posted on Twitter, Business SA’s CEO, Martin Haese, told business owners “we are all in this together”.
“Business SA knows that this will have a material impact on all SA businesses, but at this moment in time it is needed,” Mr Haese said.
“These decisions have been made in the best interests of keeping South Australia safe. This threat is real.”
Who is allowed to remain operational?
- Critical infrastructure including power, telecommunications, water
- Supermarkets for essential food
- Bottle shops
- Medical supplies and medical services
- Public transport
- Airport and essential freight
- Petrol stations
- Post offices and banking institutions
- Childcare and schools for essential services workers only
- Essential agriculture services
- Factories remain open for essential machinery upkeep and production of essential products only
- Mining and smelting for continuity and to prevent damage
The following businesses are closed
- Takeaway food services
- Shops (excluding essential food services)
- Universities and tertiary education facilities
- Pubs/restaurants/cafés/food courts
- Elective surgery (except cancer)
- Open inspections and auctions
- Fly-in fly-out worker
- Aged care and disability facilities will go into lockdown
- Construction industry
- Holiday homes and other holiday accommodation and no further bookings
- Wedding and funerals cancelled and banned
- Outdoor sport/fitness/exercise not permitted
- Regional travel not permitted