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TRAVEL & LEISURE

These Are the Businesses That Can and Can't Stay Open During Melbourne's Stage Four Lockdown

Retail stores will need to close for six weeks, but supermarkets and bottle-os are among those allowed to stay open.
By Samantha Teague
August 03, 2020
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These Are the Businesses That Can and Can't Stay Open During Melbourne's Stage Four Lockdown

Retail stores will need to close for six weeks, but supermarkets and bottle-os are among those allowed to stay open.
By Samantha Teague
August 03, 2020
  shares

Yesterday, Sunday, August 2, Premier Daniel Andrews announced stage four stay-at-home restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne, including an 8pm curfew and new limits on exercise and shopping for essentials. Today, Monday, August 3, the Premier has announced what impacts these new restrictions will have on businesses.

Businesses in metropolitan Melbourne will be split into three categories: those that can continue functioning as they were under stage three restrictions; those that will need to close for six weeks; and those that will be able to continue operating, but with significantly less employees and output.

STAYING OPEN

The first category — businesses that will be allowed to stay open — includes supermarkets, grocery stores, bottleshops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, news agencies and post offices, plus businesses involved in the state's frontline response. The Premier says this means Melburnians "don't need to go out and buy six weeks' worth of groceries".

When heading out to buy essentials from one of these stores, Melburnians must remain within five kilometres of their homes, as outlined the Premier yesterday.

CLOSING FOR SIX WEEKS

In the second category, retail stores, plus some manufacturing and admin businesses, will need to close for six weeks from 11.59pm from Wednesday, August 5. But, they will be able to run contactless 'click and collect' and delivery services, as long as they have strict safety protocols in place.

An example of a retail shop that will be required close for six weeks is Bunnings. The Premier said, "you will no longer be able to go into a Bunnings store but you will be able to collect goods without making contact with anybody."

The Premier also said you'll no longer be able to have cleaners and tradespeople in your house unless there is an emergency. "There'll be no cleaners going to your house. There'll be no-one mowing your lawns," the Premier said. "There'll be no-one providing anything other other than emergency support. If you need a plumber because a pipe has burst, then yes, you can have a plumber come and do that work."

OPERATING WITH SIGNIFICANT RESTRICTIONS

For the third group of businesses, the Premier says they'll be moving into 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.

From 11.59pm on Friday, August 7, businesses that come under this umbrella will need to have a new COVIDSafe plan in place with requirements including "extra personal protective equipment, staggering shifts, staggering breaks, health declarations and more support for sick workers to ensure they stay home".

These businesses include warehouses and distribution centres, which will need to drop back to two-thirds of their regular workforce; and construction sites, which will be able to have no more than 25 percent of staff at major sites and a maximum of five people at small sites. Abattoirs and meat-works will also sit in this list.

With many industries running at reduced capacities, the Premier says that Melburnians may not be able to get the exact products they want, but there is no need to start panic buying. "You may not be able to buy every single item that you want in the quantities you normally would, but people will have everything they need," the Premier said. "There'll be more to go around if people buy what they need, when they need it, rather than going and buying four trolleys' worth of groceries and enough chicken or beef to last you until Christmas. That's not necessary. That is simply not necessary." 

Outside of metropolitan Melbourne, businesses in regional Victoria will be moving into stage three restrictions, which means the closures of beauty parlours, gyms and entertainment venues, and restaurants and cafes moving back to takeaway-only.

To help businesses survive these closures, the Victorian Government will be giving out $5000 grants to businesses in regional Victoria and $10,000 to those in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, which have been impacted for longer.

The Premier says these changes will result in around one million Victorians no longer moving around the state for work. "This will be hard. It'll be frustrating. It'll be confusing. For a lot of workers and their families, it'll be heartbreaking," the Premier said.

More details about the closures, COVIDSafe plans and penalties are expected to be announced this week.

For more information about the status of COVID-19 in Victoria and stage four restrictions, head to the Department of Human Health and Services website.

Published on August 03, 2020 by Samantha Teague

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