A leaked government report has revealed the strict new rules that businesses will have to follow as Victoria prepares to ease its draconian stage four lockdown.
The state government announced its ‘reopening roadmap’ – the plan for the easing of Melbourne’s stage-four COVID-19 restrictions and Victoria’s stage-three measures – will be unveiled on Sunday.
Under Premier Daniel Andrews’ new industrial plans, Victorians will be encouraged to work from home, car pooling will be banned and face masks will be mandatory in high-risk workplaces.
The new measures also require meetings and tea rooms to be held outside, while workplace ‘bubbles’ mean employees can’t overlap during shift changes, The Age reported.
Under Premier Daniel Andrews’ new industrial plans, Victorians will be encouraged to work from home, car pooling will be banned and face masks will be mandatory in high-risk workplaces
Full details of the Andrews Government’s plans to ease restrictions more broadly will be released on Sunday
Areas that are commonly touched such as elevators and door handles will also need to be disinfected regularly.
A traffic light system of closed, heavily restricted, restricted or open with a COVID-safe plan will be implemented in industry fields.
Mr Andrews said there will be relief for hospitality businesses, as warmer weather means pubs, cafes and restaurants can offer outdoor service.
‘We’ll be having very detailed discussions with that industry,’ he said.
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra said state health authorities will need to have a backup plan in case of another dreaded outbreak.
‘What are the fail-safe mechanisms that are going to be put in place? We know there are going to be outbreaks, sadly, so how do we deal with that without having to shut down all of industry and, in fact, all of the state?’ he told ABC Radio.
‘We need confidence in the contact tracing system because if that is working then the caseload should be limited by the fact that we’re onto it and onto it quickly.’
Mr Andrews said there will be relief for hospitality businesses, as warmer weather means pubs, cafes and restaurants can offer outdoor service
The new road map will also detail whether Victorians will be allowed visitors in their homes.
‘If we do this too quick, if we do this chasing something that might be popular for a few weeks, if we forget that it’s a pandemic and think that it’s a popularity contest, then Christmas won’t look normal at all. It will be a very, very different Christmas Day,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘I want to find a COVID normal based on the best medical advice where there will be some rules but where we can lock that in for months.’
Full details of the government’s plans to ease restrictions more broadly will be released on Sunday.
‘Modelling scenarios [are] being run through various supercomputers,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘There is an enormous amount of work going on, and we will be in a position to be able to share that road map, what it will look like, its various components and phases, with the community on Sunday.’
Overall, Victoria’s virus statistics continue to trend well, with Monday’s 73 new cases the lowest figure since July 3.
Even so, Mr Andrews continues to give no guarantee that the restrictions’ due date of September 13 is when they will be eased.
Working from home where possible will be encouraged as Melbourne prepares to head out of stage four restrictions
‘We can’t rule out settings in two weeks time. It is very difficult to know what those settings will be,’ the premier said.
‘What we will provide on Sunday will be the plan that we intend to put in place, the plan that, all things being equal, we will put in place.
‘Everything has to have that asterisk next to it. I know that is deeply frustrating. It is frustrating for all of us.’
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton hopes new case numbers will be down to 40-50 by the end of the week.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said it was difficult to see Melbourne coming out of its stage four restrictions on September 13, given the current numbers.
He said Victoria needed to be down near the lower numbers of NSW and Queensland.
‘But then again, the rate the number is (decreasing) is getting faster in Victoria, so you never know and we just have to look at it on a daily basis,’ he said.