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Friday, September 25, 2020

Victorian premier orders shutdown of workplaces in Melbourne to stop coronavirus spread

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews revealed today the industries that will be shut down following his declaration of stage 4 restriction in Melbourne yesterday.

In an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak in Victoria, thousands of shops, factories, and corporate businesses will close across Melbourne after Premier Daniel Andrews ordered them to shut.

Andrews announced the new restrictions after Victoria recorded 429 new coronavirus cases and 13 more deaths overnight.

Under the new restrictions, call centres, and non-essential retail businesses will be forced to close.

However, supermarkets, food stores, liquor shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, newsagents, post offices, and outlets selling disability and maternity supplies can remain open under stage four.

Hardware, building and garden stores will no longer be open to the public but will be available to tradespeople with contactless ‘click and collect’ pick-up option only.

Long queue at Bunnings | Photo: George Gregorio
Hardware stores like Bunnings will be closed to the public. Limited contactless access will be made available to tradies. | Photo: George Gregorio

Premier Daniel Andrews said he could not guarantee “every single item that you might normally buy” would be on the shelves, but the essentials would be there.

“People do not need to be going and buying six weeks’ worth of groceries,” he said.

The premier further said that sense of panic is simply misplaced.

“Supermarkets as well as grocery stores, the local fruit, and veg, the local butcher, baker, they will remain open,” Premier Andrews assured the public.

Meatworks will be required to operate on two-thirds the normal capacity, a reduction of their output by a third. Workers will be clothed in full personal protective equipment (PPE) and carry out temperature checks on employees.

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This will apply to all abattoirs across the state, not just those in Melbourne, after the sector was hit particularly hard by coronavirus outbreaks.

‘Hundreds of thousands’ of workers need to stay home, Premier says

Premier Andrews said that while construction is considered the “lifeblood” of the Victorian economy, it would be reduced to a “pilot light” phase for the next six weeks.

According to the premier, the construction sector could be broken into three groups:

  • major Government projects would look at reducing staff safely
  • large construction sites of more than three storeys would need to reduce their workforce to no more than 25 per cent, and
  • domestic home construction could continue with no more than five people on site

Premier Andrews confessed that the decision had been a “very difficult” one.

“But unless we have literally hundreds of thousands of people at home and not going to work … then we will not pull this virus up, we will not see those numbers reduce,” Andrews said.

Another Andrews said that about 500,000 people were already working from home and about 250,000 had been stood down across all industries since the pandemic began.

The changes announced today are expected to see another 250,000 workers stay home for the duration of stage four restrictions.

“That is essentially a million workers who are not travelling to and from work every day,” Andrews said.

Video credit: SBS News | YouTube

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