Most shops will close in Melbourne under stage four restrictions, with the exception of supermarkets and other essential businesses

Photo by: Andrew Woodley/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • The majority of retail stores will close in Melbourne for six weeks from 11:59pm on Wednesday night, under Victoria’s stage four restrictions.
  • Exceptions include supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, news agencies and post offices.
  • Some businesses, including meat works, will move to reduced production, with far more stringent health requirements.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

A large number of businesses in metropolitan Melbourne will be forced to close under the city’s stage four restrictions from 11:59pm on Wednesday night, including the majority of retail stores.

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced there would be three categories of business: those that can remain open for on-site work, those that will need to close, and those that will have to scale back and operate at a significantly reduced capacity.

Businesses that are considered essential and will remain open largely as per usual include supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, news agencies and post offices.

“That means people do not need to be going and buying six weeks worth of groceries,” Andrews said.

“I understand that there is a sense of concern in the community and hopefully the clarity of the message today, you do not need to do that because supermarkets as well as grocery stores, the local fruit and veg, the local butcher, the baker, all of those shops – they will remain open.”

Other businesses allowed to remain open in the Melbourne metropolitan area include locksmiths, laundries and dry cleaners.

Some businesses will be required to close altogether

Retail stores, some manufacturing, and some administration businesses will close in Melbourne from 11:59pm on Wednesday night.

“As heartbreaking as it is to close down places of employment, while I never thought that I would be telling people not to go to work, that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious virus, this deadly virus,” said Andrews.

Retailers will be allowed to work on-site for the purpose of fulfilling online orders. Premier Andrews also gave the example of Bunnings Warehouse locations being closed to customers, but being available for contactless pickup and delivery.

Personal care services including hairdressers will also close, as will car washes.

Meat works, which the premier said had provided a “serious” challenge in terms of COVID-19 transmission, will move to two-thirds production, and will be subject to strong safety precautions.

“There will be some of the most stringent safety protocols that have ever been put in place in any industrial setting,” said Andrews.

“Those workers will be essentially dressed as if they were a health worker. Gloves and gowns, masks and shields, they will be working in one workplace only, they will be temperature checked, they will be tested.”

The restrictions on meat works apply statewide and not just in the Melbourne metropolitan area, unlike the restrictions on retail.

New restrictions on construction

Under the stage four restrictions, changes have also been made to construction, which Andrews described of “the lifeblood of the Victorian economy”.

Commercial building construction will no longer be allowed to have more than 25% of staff on site, with only five people allowed on-site for residential construction.

The workforce on large government projects has been cut by half. “We will continue project by project to look at ways we can further reduce the number of staff while doing so safely,” Andrews said.

“We are moving them to 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,” he added.

There were 429 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Monday, with 36 linked to known outbreaks and 393 under investigation. 13 new deaths were reported, of which eight are linked to aged care.

416 Victorians are currently in hospital, with 35 in intensive care.

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