Melbourne has been placed under stage 4 restrictions and all regional areas will enter stage 3 restrictions from 11:59pm Wednesday, 5 August. Mitchell Shire, which entered stage 3 restrictions when Melbourne did on 8 July, is to remain under the same conditions.
In addition to the restrictions already in place from Stage 3, and the mandatory wearing of face masks or coverings when leaving you home, the following changes have also been made:
- There is now a daily curfew in place from 8pm-5am, with the only acceptable reasons to leave home during this period being for work, medical care and caregiving - Exercise is now limited to one-hour per day within a 5km radius of your home, and group size is now limited to two, regardless of if you're in the same household or not. - Shopping for essentials is now limited to one person per household each day within a 5km limit of your home. If your nearest store for essential shopping is further than 5km away, you may still visit it. - All Victorian students will move to remote learning from Wednesday, 5 August.
All restrictions will be in place until at least Sunday 13 September for the whole state.
On-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 to businesses will be issued for non-compliance.
So what does this mean for businesses?
From 11:59pm, Wednesday 5 August there will be three categories of businesses, with specific conditions in place for each. A number of industries and sectors will need to close for the six-period until 13 September. These conditions apply to metropolitan Melbourne only.
These changes, in addition to the previous restrictions, including working from home requirements, will mean around 1 million Victorians are no longer moving around the state for work.
First: supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, newsagencies, post offices — plus everyone involved in our frontline response — will continue to operate.
Second: sectors where onsite operations will have to cease for the next six weeks including retail, some manufacturing and administration. These businesses will all need to close by 11:59pm Wednesday 5 August, unless they have specific circumstances that mean they need longer to shutdown safely.
This category includes restaurants and cafes, which can provide delivery and takeaway only, as well as roadhouses, which may offer dine-in in order to comply with national heavy vehicle regulations.
Retail stores will be permitted to operate contactless 'click and collect' and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place, and hardware stores can remain open onsite, but for tradespeople only.
The third and final list is made up of industries that are permitted to operate — but under significantly different conditions.
For a full breakdown of business categories click here.
Under stage 4 restrictions, category two venues in Melbourne can continue offering delivery and takeaway as per stage 3 rules. However, between 8pm and 5am customers cannot leave their home to collect takeaway, so venues will be limited to delivery during these hours.
People must also remain within a 5km radius of their home, including for exercise and when picking up food, and each household is only allowed one trip to ‘the shops’ each day, so operators should expect increased demand for delivery. Staff can travel more than 5km from their home for work.
Industries that run adjacent to the hospitality sector, such as meat processing and distribution centres, are facing tougher restrictions. This will create a change to normal supply chains that operate for restaurants and cafes.
Because a number of outbreaks in Victoria have been tied to meatworks, they will only be able to operate at two-thirds capacity. These restrictions will apply to all abattoirs across the entire state. Warehousing and distribution centres within Melbourne will also be restricted to operate at two thirds capacity.
All open businesses and services will have until 11:59pm Friday 7 August to enact a COVIDSafe plan focused on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace.
For all hospitality venues operating in regional Victoria, from 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August they will only be able to operate for takeaway and delivery. This includes restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars.
And for those businesses and industries that fall into grey areas when it comes to their operation, the dedicated Industry Coordination Centre within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions will consider their case.
“For those businesses that suffer significant losses or need to close as a result of the current restrictions, we will provide support through our expanded Business Support Fund,” the Premier stated.
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.
There will be further announcements from the state government regarding restrictions, business categories, penalties and financial support over the coming days.