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Dan Andrews Closes Down the Victorian Economy

On Monday the Victorian premier, Dan Andrews, announced his plan to shut down Victorian industry. He said that this was necessary to reduce the spread of the virus. He said the plan would eliminate at least two million people movements a day at the minimum. Premier Andrews and the chief health officer, Professor Sutton, are confident that the draconian measures will significantly reduce the prevalence of COVID 19 by the end of the six-week lockdown.

At his press conference on Monday afternoon, the Premier announced that there were 429 new infections on Sunday and 13 deaths. Professor Sutton said that the level three restrictions had flattened the curve but under them, Victoria would limp along with same daily numbers until Christmas.

The premier said that there would be three classes of business closures.

The first category of industries which will remain open in Melbourne include supermarkets, grocery stores, butchers, bakeries, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, news agencies, post offices and all sectors involved in the frontline response to COVID-19.

"While you will only be able to go those that are closest to you and you will only be able to be one person out of the house doing that for an hour, they will still be open," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Most retailers will be forced to shut their doors in Melbourne from 11.59 pm on Wednesday, Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed.

"From 11.59 pm this Wednesday, retail will close, some manufacturing will close, some admin will close," he said.

"These businesses, unless they have specific requirements to safely shut down on a slightly longer timeline, they will have to close.

The third category of restrictions includes businesses which can continue to operate but at a reduced capacity, such as abattoirs.

"Whether it be lamb, poultry or beef, they will move to two-thirds production, so they will reduce their production by one third," Mr Andrews said.

But the premier warned the workplaces would look "very different".

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

"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 changes will come into effect at midnight on Friday.

The construction and building sector will also be required to scale back its workforce, however, it will not fully shut down.

"Very large commercial building, whether it be building apartments in the city or building factories or warehouses or some of those sorts of non-residential building project, if it's above three stories, then those builders will need to reduce their workforce down to the practical minimum, they can have no more than 25 per cent of their workforce working," Mr Andrews said.

"In terms of the third category of building, which is domestic homes, that sector can obviously stay open … but it will be unlawful to have any more than five people on-site at any one time."

In terms of financial assistance, the premier announced that businesses would receive grants of $5,000 to tide them over through the six weeks. At his subsequent press conference, the prime minister said the situation in Victoria was a disaster, like a bushfire, accordingly, the commonwealth would make available disaster payments in the same way they had been after the bushfires. People who are not eligible for sick leave and who are directed to isolate for fourteen days will receive a payment of $1,500.

People who are stood down, because of the measures, will be eligible for jobkeeper immediately and this will be paid at the current rate until the restrictions are over.

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