Tougher restrictions announced as businesses prepare to close

Premier Dan Andrews has announced tough new restrictions for Victorians in the state as well as metropolitan Melbourne to help reduce the number of coronavirus cases across the state. Over the past few days, the premier has announced a number of new restrictions including mandatory mask wearing across the entire state, stage 4 lockdown and business closures for the Melbourne metropolitan area.

As of Sunday August, 2, residents in the Melbourne metropolitan area will only be able to leave the homes to shop for necessary goods and services, to obtain or provide care, exercise (not including recreational activities) and to attend work. Victorians will not be able to travel further than  five kilometres from their home address except to attend work or obtain or provide care. Further restrictions on shopping and exercising also apply. In addition, a curfew has been implemented requiring residents to not leave their homes between the hours of 8:00 pm and 5:00 am unless attending work or receiving care.

Many businesses within the Melbourne metropolitan area will be forced to close under stage 4 lockdown, with non-essential businesses, including most retail and administration required to cease on-premises operations from 11:59 pm Wednesday August 5. Under guidance released by the Department of Health and Human Services personal and business insurance services may be allowed to continue however, the department and National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) stress that this work must be completed from home where possible. NIBA CEO, Dallas Booth said, “These restrictions will obviously impact the way our members conduct their business, for example, brokers may wish to direct clients to a secure platform such as Paypal for the payment of premiums if they do not have their own electronic payment portal.”

Staff that are required onsite will need to carry a permitted worker permit with them when travelling to and from or attending work which can be accessed here.

These restrictions will impact members in the Melbourne metropolitan area only. Business outside of this area, including Mitchell Shire, can continue to trade where it is not possible to work from home. All businesses regardless of location will have until 11:59 pm Friday 7th August to enact their COVIDSafe plan.

Residents in regional Victoria, including Mitchell Shire will enter stage 3 lockdown from 11:59 pm, Wednesday August 5. Under stage 3 lockdown residents will only be able to leave their home to purchase essential goods and services, obtain or provide care, attend work and for exercise or outdoor recreation. Residents in regional Victoria are not required to stay within five kilometres of their home nor are they subject to the curfew. Residents will no longer be allowed to have visitors within their homes.

To support businesses, the Victorian government has extended the Business Support Fund. Businesses in regional Victoria can apply for a $5,000 grant while those in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can apply for up to $10,000 in recognition of spending longer under restrictions.