In Melbourne under stage 4 restrictions and feel like screaming at coronavirus? You’re not alone


Death and grief, unemployment, anxiety, exhaustion and a curfew — the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to Melbourne.

Tess Roberts felt she was starting to reach the end of the list of suggested “healthy coping mechanisms”.

After she lost her admin job at a small management consulting business, she watched people around her try baking bread, doing sudoku and colour by numbers.

She has already used up her 10 Medicare-funded psychology sessions and is glad to see the program being extended to offer another 10.

“We’ve probably journaled about it, we’ve done some meditating, whatever works for you,” she said.

And she began to feel that maybe the best way to capture just how out-of-control her life was beginning to feel was to “literally just to walk out into the outside world and just yell because I think there’s something cathartic about that”.

Tess Roberts sits on a bench with a mug in her hand looking unimpressed, with leafy trees behind her.
Tess Roberts feels like she’s exhausted the list of things that are meant to make 2020 feel better.(Supplied: Tess Roberts)

And so without much more thought, Ms Roberts set up the Facebook event ‘Stand on your front porch and scream’ as a joke.

Now 74,000 people have flagged their interest in joining her to do just that at 7:00pm tonight.

Iceland has also invited people to scream at 2020

Initially surprised by the rapid take-up of the event, she’s now seeing some common themes emerge in the jokes, conversations and comments being shared on the page.

Among her suggested words people could scream to vent their frustration at the pandemic is the overused “unprecedented”.

“Scream this one with all the disgust you can manage because it’s the only word anyone ever uses to talk about this pandemic,” she posted.

“Roll every venomous syllable off your tongue and then never say this spew word again.”

Perhaps she shouldn’t have been surprised it took off — Iceland’s tourism team launched a whole campaign earlier this year based around the idea of recording a scream and having it played on speakers somewhere in the Icelandic wilderness.

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While the Let It Out! website suggested screaming could be a therapeutic tool, it also made clear it was no substitute for professional mental health support.

If you can’t change your circumstances, try your mindset

Jane Fisher, a professor of global health and academic clinical and health psychologist at Monash University, is not so sold on the touted benefits of screaming.

“People feel powerless, that they’ve lost agency to act in their own lives and understandably are perhaps seeing this as a collective way of expressing that frustration,” Professor Fisher said.

“I guess on the other hand, I think there are probably more constructive ways of responding to frustration than collective screaming.”

She said while it might bring short-term relief, the more useful thing to attempt, however difficult, was to consider how you could change your mindset about your situation, even if you can’t change the circumstances one bit.

Professor Fisher said part of the frustration drawing people to the idea of a mutual scream was the “loss of autonomy”.

“To be able to determine how we spend our time, who we see, what we do with our lives. And that is a very profound thing to lose,” she said.

“[But] the only thing over which we can have agency is the way we think. The events are not ones which we can change. But what we can change is how we think about them.”

Monash University is running an online survey during the pandemic, asking Australian adults how they are coping and what they want governments to provide to support them.

Professor Fisher said she hoped the results would help highlight community priorities to politicians so they could focus on rebuilding some of the less tangible things people had lost, such as a sense of purpose and identity with work.

A white hand-drawn sign in colourful print which says keep going, you're doing great.
Lots of Melburnians are finding artistic ways to promote optimism and hope in public spaces.(ABC News: Margaret Paul)

While Ms Roberts now feels obliged to step out the front tonight to join the movement she never really intended to create, she said not everyone needed to be loud in order to release their emotions into the city’s air.

“Switch your porch lights on and off, spelling out ‘I am screaming’ in Morse code,” was one attendee’s suggestion she enjoyed.



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Coronavirus restrictions will move to stage 3.1 in the ACT on Monday, allowing food courts and the Canberra Casino to reopen


Coronavirus restrictions in the ACT will ease further from Monday, with the territory moving to stage 3.1 as it marks almost one month since the last confirmed COVID-19 case was recorded.

This morning the ACT Government announced that from 9:00am on Monday August 10, Canberrans would once more be allowed to dine-in at food courts and gaming could recommence in clubs and at the Canberra Casino.

Steam rooms and saunas, strip clubs, brothels and escort agencies can also reopen, and 24 hour gyms can have a maximum of 25 people when unstaffed.

But while some restrictions will ease from Monday, the Government said others originally flagged as part of stage 3 were not being introduced.

The rule of one person per four square metres remains in place, as do restrictions around keeping gatherings to a maximum of 100 people, both inside and outside.

Bars must continue to serve alcohol only to seated patrons, though there are no longer limits on the size of group bookings.

And while most businesses were already displaying occupancy limits, the ACT Government has now made it a requirement.

“However, the requirements under the public health directions are not just the responsibility of businesses, they extend to all of us, to all Canberrans,” ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said.

The ACT has been at stage 2.2 of restrictions since June 19, with the Government deciding to hold restrictions in place on multiple occasions due to outbreaks in Victoria, Sydney and Batemans Bay.

“The ACT continues to be in a strong position in regard to COVID-19 cases and our readiness to respond to cases in the event that they were to occur,” Dr Coleman said.

“We have in place firm travel advice on specific areas of New South Wales, including the Greater Sydney region. We also have in place border controls with Victoria, which have proved to be effective.

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But Dr Coleman said while restrictions were easing once more, businesses must continue to follow their COVID Safety plans.

“In partnership with our colleagues in Access Canberra and ACT Policing, we will continue to work closely with all business sectors to support them to implement these public health guidelines and to implement COVID Safety plans that are a requirement,” she said.

She said the next checkpoint to decide whether restrictions would be eased further would take place in a fortnight, on August 20.

Restriction easing comes one day after ACT declared a hotspot by Queensland

The decision to ease restrictions came one day after Queensland said it would close its borders to all of NSW and the ACT from Saturday.

The ACT’s Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did not warn him about the travel ban, but conceded the ACT was listed as a hotspot as it was being treated as if it is part of NSW.

“I’m surprised with this announcement,” Mr Barr said yesterday.

Mr Barr said he understood Ms Palaszczuk’s reasoning was that some NSW residents were flying into Queensland via the Canberra Airport.

“I’m not sure there is evidence to support that, but I’m happy to see it if it is the case and we could endeavour to address that specific question,” he said.

“But the ACT has had no active cases for most of this week now and no new cases for the best part of three weeks.”

ACT police testing fake COVID-19 flyers for DNA

A letter shows false information about coronavirus.
The fake COVID letter has been condemned by ACT Health.(Supplied)

ACT Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan said investigations were continuing into the hoax letters containing false information about coronavirus which were distributed in some Canberra suburbs.

The flyer purports to contain an important COVID-19 health warning, but instead alleges that coronavirus is being spread by the government through the water supply, and that a possible vaccination against the virus could include a tracking device.

“I thank all Canberrans who have provided ACT Policing with some substantial information in relation to this investigation,” Deputy Commissioner Gaughan said.

“The letters are being examined forensically, hopefully for fingerprints or DNA.

“We also have received extensive CCTV footage from different premises.”

The flyers were distributed near testing centres in Garran and Watson.

Due to wet weather forecast this weekend in Canberra, the Government announced the drive through testing centre at Kambah would be temporarily closed from Friday August 7 until Sunday August 9.

Testing will still be available all weekend at the Garran Oval, Weston Creek and EPIC drive through sites.

On Friday testing will also be available at the West Belconnen Child and Family Centre in Kippax.



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Failings on border restrictions allowed coronavirus to spread faster in UK, report finds



Coronavirus spread faster in the UK as the Government failed to bring in quarantine rules for travellers in the early days of the pandemic, a report has found.

The “critical errors” including the “inexplicable” decision to lift all border restrictions in March “accelerated” the scale and pace of the pandemic, the Commons Home Affairs Committee said.

The group of MPs backed the decision to include Spain in the current quarantine measures , but hit out at the way travel corridor decisions were being made and called for improvements.


The inquiry considered all of the Government’s decisions on border measures during the crisis so far.

Drawing on evidence that thousands of people with Covid-19 arrived in or returned to the UK in February and March, the committee concluded: “The UK’s experience of Covid-19 has been far worse as a result of the Government’s decision not to require quarantine during March, which would have reduced the number of imported infections.”

Some 10,000 people with Covid-19 may have entered or returned to the country in March, the committee said.

It also cited a study referred to by the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance which indicated more than 1,300 separate strains of the virus were imported largely from Spain, Italy and France during that period.

Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper said: “The Government’s failure to have proper quarantine measures in place in March as the infection was spreading fast was a grave error and meant Covid spread faster and reached more people.

“The UK was almost unique in having no border checks or quarantine arrangements at that time. That alone should have rung loud alarm bells for ministers and made them think again.

“Many times ministers told us they were following the science, but we cannot find any science at all behind their completely inexplicable decision to lift all the self-isolation guidance for travellers on March 13, a full 10 days before lockdown, just at a time when other countries were introducing stronger border measures.

“We were told that thousands more people with Covid-19 came back to the UK after that guidance was lifted. So in the middle of March, at a time when the number of people with Covid coming back into the UK was at its peak, they were going back to work or onto public transport or seeing family without any quarantine in place.”

The Government’s failure to provide the scientific advice behind its decisions – despite repeated requests and promises to do so – was “completely unacceptable”, the committee said, as it warned ministers may have been making decisions without sight of “critical information”.

The lack of clarity is “very serious and may well have contributed to mistakes being made”, the MPs said.

Ms Cooper added: “It has been extremely difficult to work out who took key decisions and on what basis.”

Last-minute decisions and mixed messages were also “very unhelpful” for holidaymakers, and the Government needs to be “much more sensitive” to the impact this has on families and businesses.

The committee also remained “unconvinced” by Home Office claims that an estimated 99.9 per cent of the public subjected to quarantine restrictions were complying with the rules and called for the findings to be “better evidenced” and routinely published.

Among a string of recommendations made, the committee said the Government should investigate the viability of carrying out testing at the border and publish a traffic light system to show prevalence rates for different countries for travellers to consider.

A Government spokeswoman said the committee was “incorrect” in its “assertions”.

She added: “All of our decisions throughout the pandemic have been guided by the science, with appropriate measures introduced at the right time to keep us all safe.”



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could lockdown restrictions get any tougher? Apparently, yes


When the present phase four restrictions imposed in Victoria are the toughest Australia has noticed, Daniel Andrews suggests you can find far more to arrive if COVID-19 case numbers never go down.

Victoria Leading Daniel Andrews (Image: AAP/David Crosling)

When Victorian Leading Daniel Andrews confronted the media to announce specifics of office closures all around the point out, he acknowledged Victoria had couple selections still left. If these restrictions, harsher than nearly anything we’ve ever noticed in Australia, did not do the job, there was nowhere for Victoria to go but to “stage five”.

Andrews lifted the prospect of stage five tentatively in his media launch yesterday, even though acknowledging that no one could genuinely guess what even tougher constraints could possibly signify. 

“It’s challenging to think about what phase 5 would seem like, but it would radically transform the way men and women are living,” Andrews’ push release yesterday browse.





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‘I feel lost’: Fears for Melbourne’s multicultural businesses as Stage 4 restrictions bite


Business enterprise house owners in Melbourne are preventing to keep open and fearful for their long run as tricky new Stage 4 constraints start out to chunk.

Murat Aytac Dokuzelma has operate his halal butcher in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray for about 20 yrs. He claimed his faithful clients and team truly feel like household. 

But, like countless numbers of other small firms throughout the point out, and indeed the state, he is struggling. 

“I truly feel dropped. I really do not know what’s going on,” Mr Dokuzelma told SBS News. 

“We really don’t know what our upcoming retains.” 

Footscray Halal Meats in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray.

Equipped

Footscray Halal Meats is between the enterprises permitted to stay open up underneath Stage 4 limits introduced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday

The new regulations allow for essential companies and operations – this sort of as butchers, grocery suppliers, bottle retailers and pharmacies, together with individuals concerned in the frontline reaction to the pandemic – to proceed buying and selling as ordinary. 

Design sites, warehouses and distributions will be essential to scale back again their functions and cafes and places to eat will change to takeaway only as health authorities race to restrict the unfold of COVID-19. 

From midnight on Wednesday, all non-important retail, services and production organizations in metropolitan Melbourne will be expected to near their shops for at least six months even though Phase 4 restrictions are in location. 

Residents and companies in regional Victoria are also planning to re-enter Stage 3 limits at midnight on Wednesday.

Experts estimate the measures could guide to another 250,000 job losses across Victoria.

‘Are we likely to endure?’ 

Mr Dokuzelma claimed although he feels fortunate his organization can continue to be open, the future 6 months won’t be straightforward. 

“I’m pressured. I’m attempting to run my small business, and maintain it open up. But for a little enterprise like us, are we likely to survive just after those six weeks?” he reported. 

Mr Dokuzelma employs six employees associates and, so far in the course of the pandemic, he hasn’t stood any individual down.

“I couldn’t do that to them. They are like my family members … They have family members, as well. I have to continue to keep them,” he said. 

How will your workplace be affected by Melbourne's new Stage 4 coronavirus restrictions?

Footscray Halal Meats will remain open all through the next six 7 days lockdown.

Provided

Mr Dokuzelma’s said his shoppers are even now coming in, but small business is not like it utilised to be. And while meat selling prices are going up, he stated he’s hesitant to maximize his possess. 

“Our buyers have been really loyal more than the last 20 years… I just can’t set my charges up, I just can’t do that to them,” he claimed, introducing he is anxious they could “get the erroneous idea”. 

“That signifies I’m not heading to make a gain for the following 6 months.” 

The compact small business owner reported his saving grace is his meat supplier, who has been hunting just after him for two decades.

Beneath the new Phase 4 restrictions, meat performs – the source of quite a few COVID-19 clusters worldwide – will be equipped to continue to be open but will reduce their output by 1 3rd. They’ll be matter to rigorous safety protocols that incorporate all staff users sporting PPE. 

Mr Dokuzelma mentioned his potential would be set in jeopardy if meat operates were being to close. 

“If they near, in which are we likely to get the meat from? And even if they cut down output, are we going to be capable to fill out this position?” he questioned. 

‘We have to be positive’

Zurlia Usman has operate Emaan, an ethically-sourced Islamic outfits and life style brand, for pretty much two decades.

In that time she reported she has “weathered all the storms”, but on Wednesday night, the Coburg retail store will temporarily shut its doorways. 

“It is really definitely hard … but I’m sure this time, we can get via,” Ms Usman advised SBS Information. 

“We have to be good.” 

Ms Usman is optimistic her business will stay afloat.

Ms Usman is optimistic her organization will continue to be afloat.

SBS Information

Emaan sells clothing and life-style accessories, these types of as prayer mats, attar and fragrance alongside with a array of books on Islam.  

From Thursday, the enterprise will count on its online shop. Under the new constraints, retail shops will be permitted to operate contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery expert services with demanding security protocols in spot. 

“We are functioning seriously really hard on it – we dispense all the orders inside 24 several hours,” Ms Usman claimed. 

“Of system it can be much less than if we had the store and the on-line retail outlet. But we are executing actually nicely.” 

Ms Usman said she and her four employees will rely on governing administration aid, like JobKeeper payments and new grants. The condition authorities has introduced grants of $5,000 for regional organizations and $10,00 for those in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire to cope with the more durable limitations. But these are not readily available to sole traders. 

Ms Usman reported she hopes this will be plenty of to get via. 

“It is more challenging this time …We didn’t expect it to take place yet again. But ideally, we will overcome these problems and we will go back to typical,” she said. 

Mr Dokuzelma, also, is sensation hopeful. 

“My own feeling is I can survive,” he explained. 

“I am blessed to be in Australia. We are harmless in this article.” 

Metropolitan Melbourne people are subject to Stage 4 limits and must comply with a curfew concerning the hrs of 8pm and 5am. The only good reasons for Melbourne inhabitants to depart home for the duration of these several hours are for workout, to shop for essential merchandise and providers, for get the job done, for health and fitness treatment, or to treatment for a unwell or elderly relative.

The whole list of restrictions can be identified below. All Victorians have to wear a confront masking when they depart property, no make a difference the place they stay.

Folks in Australia have to remain at least 1.5 metres absent from other folks.Check out your state’s restrictions on gathering restrictions. If you are encountering cold or flu signs, continue to be dwelling and set up a take a look at by calling your health care provider or get in touch with the Coronavirus Well being Info Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and data is accessible in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus



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Sam Newman complains about restrictions banning golf


The spread of coronavirus has forced Victorians into an extreme lockdown but the only thing Sam Newman wants to know is why he can’t play golf.

The AFL great and former Footy Show panellist has made a habit in recent months of criticising Premier Dan Andrews for preventing people from hitting the fairways as the global pandemic brought life as we know it to a halt.

That changed when restrictions were loosened as Australia looked like it was getting a grip on the spread of COVID-19 but an alarming increase in Victorian cases has resulted in a state of disaster being declared — and unfortunately for Newman, that means putting his clubs back in the bag.

As part of the tough new suite of restrictions, a nightly curfew has been placed on Greater Melbourne from 8pm to 5am but Newman is more concerned about why golf courses have been forced to close back down.

“Open: bottle shops and liquor stores. Shut: golf courses,” Newman tweeted.

“Dilemma — sit a home and get s**t-faced OR step into the wide open spaces, well away from others, exercising as you do, by playing GOLF. And the lunacy goes on.”

Responding to someone on social media who suggested there are more pressing concerns right now — like the effect Victoria’s lockdown will have on unemployment — Newman still managed to suggest his complaint was valid.

“The 100,000 out of work may want to play GOLF — seeing as they’re out of work,” Newman wrote.

RELATED: Footy Show secret ‘almost killed’ Newman

RELATED: Victoria’s new lockdown rules explained

In April, Geelong legend Newman marched on Victoria’s Parliament House in Melbourne to demand the state’s golf courses be re-opened immediately. He was angry his home courses were closed while those in other states like NSW were able to remain open, so long as players adhered to social distancing restrictions.

Months ago Mr Andrews said “no round of golf is worth someone’s life” as Newman repeatedly attacked the Premier’s leadership.

Melbourne residents are now enduring the strictest lockdown of anyone on the planet. They can only leave their residence for four essential reasons: Shopping for groceries and essential items; medical needs and caregiving; daily exercise in your local area; and work where it’s not possible to do so from home.

Exercise is limited to one hour, once per day, and must take place within five kilometres of home. Mask-wearing is also mandatory and all restaurants and cafes are closed for dining in.

Newman recently parted ways with Channel 9 after making explosive comments about George Floyd, the American man who died in police custody and ignited the Black Lives Matter movement across the world.



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ACT clubs hold out hope coronavirus restrictions ease next week amid reports of roaring trade at Queanbeyan’s pokies


The organisation representing ACT clubs has called on the Government to allow gaming to restart, amid reports Canberrans are travelling into Queanbeyan to use the pokies.

While NSW opted to ease restrictions on gaming, the ACT has held firm in not permitting the activity, despite allowing venues to cater to up to 100 people at a time.

In the months since coronavirus forced shutdowns across the country, some clubs have suffered, with the Kaleen Eastlake Club announcing last week it would permanently close.

And as businesses across the border benefit from the lighter restrictions, ACT Clubs says gaming venues need a reprieve, to keep people in jobs and ensure trade stays in the territory.

Canberrans turning to NSW for ‘relaxed’ service: publican

Since restrictions on venues eased in NSW following the state-wide lockdown, trade on the average gaming machine saw an 89 per cent increase in turnover.

But Queanbeyan saw a 453 per cent jump.

One reason could be its proximity to the ACT, where the restrictions are tighter.

Anthony McDonald runs the Royal Hotel in Queanbeyan and said he had seen a lot more Canberrans at his venue in recent weeks.

He said it could be due to the access to pokies, as well as the lighter restrictions on how long a person could stay.

“We’re seeing strong food and beverage numbers, and people are definitely coming across from the ACT,” Mr McDonald said.

“I know in the ACT they have time restrictions and you have to leave after your sitting, but I don’t think any of the operations in Queanbeyan are putting time restrictions on it.

The Royal Hotel, Queanbeyan
The Royal Hotel in Queanbeyan has seen an uptick in customers from the ACT.(ABC News: Sonya Gee)

The ACT Government has said that gaming venues are restricted due to the higher risk of infection posed by some activities over others.

“One of the things that the Chief Health Officer has been really clear about is that we need to assess cumulative risk when we’re determining the easing of restrictions,” Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said.

“It is about managing the cumulative risk to our community of people coming together, intermingling in situations particularly where there may be alcohol involved, where they may lose some of their inhibitions or may stay in a venue for a length of time.”

But Mr McDonald said the same social distancing rules applied to every area of his venue, whether it was for gaming, drinking or dining.

“We’re working on the one in four capacity, so subject to social distancing, we can turn our machines on,” he said.

“It means some places have put only every second machine on.

“But most importantly, it means for the pubs and clubs, we have access to the gaming machines as well”

He said while the pokies were not a huge part of their business, they had seen an uptick in revenue nonetheless.

“I thought that was the commitment from the Chief Minister, and you have to consider that Queanbeyan is basically an outer suburb of Canberra.

‘We just want our chance’

Gwyn stands in front of Kaleen club looking serious.
Clubs ACT CEO Gwyn Rees had called for lifted restrictions on gaming.(ABC News)

ACT Clubs chief executive Gwyn Rees said they were suffering for lack of trade.

“The clubs over there [Queanbeyan] are telling us there’s about 40 per cent visitation from the ACT and they’re seeing machine numbers that they haven’t seen since the 90s.

“Lots of people are going over to enjoy the services that are over in Queanbeyan and again we just want our chance to reopen our clubs and offer those same services.

“Any Canberran can go over and look at a car park in Queanbeyan and see the ACT plates. That itself tells the story.”

He said it was not just about trade, but also employment, and the loss of the Kaleen club was a blow to the industry.

He said gaming was now open in every state and territory except Victoria.

“We just want our chance. We want to get our people back to work,” he said.

“We’ve been off for four months now, so that’s got to have an impact on the ACT budget of some 10 million in terms of gaming taxes, in addition to an impact on the community contributions which we think are around three or 4 million at this stage.”

Clubs wait to see if restrictions eased this week

Two blurred faced people play the pokies at a pub
ACT Clubs claims venues are struggling due to restrictions on gaming.(Supplied.)

While the ACT Government is considering whether to go ahead and ease restrictions on businesses this coming week, in line with its original plan, it’s not clear what that could mean for gaming.

Ms Stephen-Smith said it was unlikely they would allow larger gatherings at venues.

“What we are very unlikely to see from next weekend is a bigger number of people being able to gather,” she said.

“So, our stage three did previously have 250 people gathering plus the reopening of a number of activities, including gaming venues.

Mr Rees said he was perplexed by the argument that gaming was more of a safety risk with relation to coronavirus than other activities.

“We’ve asked for that advice and it hasn’t been provided,” he said.

A deserted country street.
NSW and the ACT have different restrictions around gaming due to coronavirus.(Supplied)

“It seems a closed shop. We can’t have a conversation. We’ve asked for the advice.

“We don’t understand the decision — but if this is about jobs, we need to get clubs open.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said she was aware that some Canberrans might choose to leave the territory to access certain things they could not get closer to home. 

“We know that people are potentially going to travel interstate for particular activities and that is their choice,” she said.

“It’s pretty hard to assess what the cumulative impact of that is going to be and we’re continuing to keep an eye on the wellbeing of our clubs here in the ACT and there have been a number of measures taken to support community clubs in the ACT.”



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Victoria’s stage four coronavirus restrictions hit Melbourne businesses as Dan Andrews flags tougher fines and enforcement


Thousands of Melbourne businesses are reeling after being ordered to shut their doors from Thursday, as the Victorian Government prepares to unveil tougher policing measures to enforce the city’s stage four lockdown.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday the shutdown of businesses spanning retail, manufacturing, childcare and hairdressing would see 250,000 fewer Victorians out and about, helping to drive down levels of coronavirus transmission which were otherwise forecast to plateau until the end of the year.

Fitzroy hairdresser Sofia Basile said the six-week closure would be “devastating” and disagreed with the Victorian Government’s ruling that her business was not “essential”.

“I believe it’s an essential service, it is the feel-good factor, it’s part of grooming, it’s part of everyday life, so to take that away as an essential service, I think that it’s an incorrect move,” she said.

“A lot of my clients have actually come in and it’s been a real relief for them to actually have their hair done.

“It helps with your mental health, so I think taking away this completely is quite devastating and I do think that it will be crippling for a lot of businesses and they won’t recover.”

Sofia Basile puts foils into the hair of a customer in her salon, both of them wearing surgical masks.
Ms Basile said she had begun using masks at the beginning of the pandemic and believed the Government should have made them mandatory then to prevent the recent surge in infections.(ABC News)

She said she was hopeful that her business, which is celebrating its 30th birthday this year, would be able to recover with the support of her clients and staff.

“It’s hard you’ve worked all your life to build up an amazing brand and this is the devastation that we’re dealing with right now,” she said.

“So I think there’s been a lot of mistakes along the way and I do think that the Government’s got to help more, particularly with businesses.”

On Monday, the Premier announced businesses in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire which were already eligible for $5,000 support grants would receive an additional $5,000, in recognition of the lockdown’s extension.

Businesses in regional Victoria which will shut down under stage three restrictions on Thursday will be eligible for $5,000 grants.

Ms Basile said all support helped, but she and many other businesses had been waiting for weeks for the first round of grants, and the top-up payment of $5,000 was “too low” to get her through the next six weeks.

The Victorian Government said it had paid $5,000 grants to 12,600 businesses so far, worth $63 million in total.

It said it had also paid 215 businesses through its tourism support program and 77,600 businesses had been paid a total of $776 million in $10,000 grants through its original business support fund.

‘Many unanswered questions’ remain for builders, childcare workers

Builders and the construction union were poring over the details of the new restrictions for their industry on Monday night, which include a 75 per cent reduction in workers on large sites and no more than five workers on projects three storeys or under.

In a brief statement, Master Builders Association Victoria’s chief executive Rebecca Casson said there were “many unanswered questions” in the wake of the Government’s announcement.

Cranes on Melbourne buildings seen from West Melbourne
Major commercial construction projects can only have 25 per cent of their employees on the site compared to normal operations.(ABC News: Patrick Rocca)

“Despite the great work everyone in our industry has done to keep it safe, we understand the broader issues at play and we will continue to work with the Government and DHHS to ensure this scaling back is as brief as possible, and the effects to the Victorian economy are also minimised by being ready to go at full capacity when allowed,” she said.

A restriction limiting workers to only one site for the duration of the stage four lockdown could have a significant impact on tilers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and plasterers, who often work across multiple sites simultaneously.

Melbourne bricklayer and scaffolder Warwick Archer said while he was sometimes working on one site for up to a month at a time, that was not the case for many other tradespeople.

“These tradesmen that need to call around from site to site, various sites through the day, if that is the rule, that they are only allowed on one site, that is going to [have an impact],” he said.

He said household construction jobs had already been drying up since May as concern about community transmission grew.

“Particularly if the customer’s living onsite and close contact with other people coming and going, people get a little bit nervous about it,” he said.

Mr Archer, who is a member of the construction subcontracting alliance Subbies United, said he was also concerned some rogue builders who were failing to pay subcontractors had become emboldened by the chaos of the pandemic.

“[They are] using this as a time to get away with more than they would normally get away with due to the smokescreen of the pandemic,” he said.

Melbourne preschool and childcare centres will fall under similar restrictions to schools and will only be open to vulnerable children or children of “permitted workers” who cannot care for them at home.

“I know that will be incredibly challenging for a number of people who perhaps are working from home, but there’s simply no choice, we’ve all got to make a contribution to less movement, not more,” Mr Andrews said.

The Australian Childcare Alliance was on Monday night still digesting the details of the announcement, seeking to understand how many parents would fall into the category of “permitted workers”.

Tougher fines and more ADF personnel coming to enforce restrictions

The Premier has flagged “significant boosts” in penalties and enforcement directed at those who breach coronavirus restrictions, the details of which will be announced later today.

On Monday, he said he was grateful to the Prime Minister for his partnership in providing further Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel to help the state “get this job done”.

ADF personnel walk alongside Victoria Police officers, all masked and gloved, at The Tan walking track.
ADF personnel have already been joining police on patrols to enforce restrictions in recent weeks.(AAP: Daniel Pockett)

All Victorians currently face $200 on-the-spot fines if they are out of their homes without a face covering, $1,652 fines for individuals who breach health directives and $9,913 fines for businesses.

More announcements are also expected this week about greater support for people living with family violence and mental health issues, as Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton recognised the toll the lockdown would have on Victorians.

“That’s why there’ll be further announcements in relation to that support, but these are inescapable realities, we have to limit our interactions with other people,” he said.



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How will your workplace be affected by Melbourne’s new Stage 4 coronavirus restrictions?


Retail outlets, non-essential manufacturing operations, hospitality venues and administrative offices in Melbourne will be closed for at least six weeks from midnight on Wednesday, causing job losses and heartbreak for workers and their families.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced new coronavirus operating guidelines for businesses on Monday, breaking them into three categories, a day after the state government imposed Stage 4 restrictions on metropolitan Melbourne.

Residents and businesses in regional Victoria are also preparing to re-enter Stage 3 restrictions at midnight on Wednesday.

Experts estimate the measures could lead to another 250,000 job losses across Victoria.

“This will be hard. It’ll be frustrating. It’ll be confusing. For a lot of workers and their families, it’ll be heartbreaking,” Mr Andrews said on Monday as the state reported another 429 coronavirus cases and 13 deaths.

“But the only way to get people back to work and businesses back open is by making these tough decisions – and by Victorians abiding by them. We have to make this work. Lives and livelihoods are counting on it.”

The Victoria Chamber of Commerce said while it was crucial to get the health crisis under control, closing or heavily restricting workplaces will have a devastating effect on businesses and the economy that will be felt for years.

“For many struggling businesses already only just hoping to make it through Stage 3 restrictions, closing for six weeks will be the end,” Chief Executive Paul Guerra said.

“While it is somewhat positive that some vital industries will still be able to operate under a ‘pilot light’ setting, including construction, the restrictions will still severely damage jobs and productivity.”

Here’s what the changes mean for businesses and workers across Melbourne.

Category one: Closing

All businesses with non-essential onsite operations will be forced to close from midnight on Wednesday and must remain shut while Stage 4 restrictions are in place. This includes:

  • retail outlets
  • wholesalers and manufacturers of non-essential goods such as clothing, furniture and domestic appliances
  • personal care service providers such as hairdressers and car washes
  • accommodation, food and entertainment outlets
  • finance, real estate and administrative services
  • mining exploration, forestry and logging businesses

However businesses in this category, if they can, will be permitted to operate using contactless delivery or click and collect models, with strict safety protocols in place.

Hardware stores will be able to remain open onsite, but only for tradespeople.

“You’ll no longer be able to go into a Bunnings store, but you’ll be able to collect goods without making contact with anybody,” Mr Andrews said. 

“Retail will look very different than it’s ever looked.”

Category two: Unaffected

Any essential businesses and operations involved in the frontline response to the pandemic will remain open as normal. These include:

  • grocery stores
  • bottle shops
  • pharmacies
  • petrol stations
  • banks
  • newsagencies
  • post offices
  • any business involved with healthcare

This category also includes businesses involved in the supply chain of essential goods, essential service providers, construction operations relating to essential infrastructure and critical repairs, transport, media and telecommunications.

A shopper wearing a face mask inside a Woolworths shop.

AAP

Mr Andrews assured Victorians on Monday they would still have access to everything they needed and there was no need for panic-buying.

“There is no need for people to go and shop for things in bulk, that sense of panic is simply misplaced, we don’t need to do that,” he said.

Category three: Open, but with caveats

A third category of business will be able to stay open, but forced to scale back operations. This includes:

  • commercial and domestic construction businesses
  • warehousing and distribution centres
  • meat processing and cold storage facilities

“Whether it’s our food production, waste collection or supply chain logistics, we need some things to continue – but they’ve got do so safely,” Mr Andrews said.

“They will look very different and they will be operating at a significantly reduced capacity to what a normal August and September would look like.”

The premier said the reduction of staff and output for these business would be painful.

“That is a very challenging decision to make and I know there will be substantial pain that comes from that but unless we have literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people at home, and not going to work, we will not see the number reduce.”

The end for some retailers, but others will get clever

National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said some retailers will not recover from the new Stage 4 restrictions.

While they accept that dealing with a health crisis comes before an economic crisis, Ms Lamb said many were already recovering from the first lockdown.

“This decision has hit them hard today. We know that retailers around Australia lost $3.6 billion during the first lockdown so this is really going to hurt them,” she told SBS News.

“The question now is how many of them will be able to return and how many of them will be able to rehire and what will this means for their future.”

Bourke Street Mall is seen before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne.

Bourke Street Mall is seen before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne.

AAP

Ms Lamb said young workers and female workers would be hit hardest.

“Retail employs 1.5 million workers across the country and a third of them are youth. Our young workers are really feeling the pinch at this time. All we can hope for is that our retails are able to come back, re-employ those workers and get moving after the six-week period.”

There are a few ways retailers can attempt to weather the oncoming storm, said Ms Lamb said.

“First up, they should talk to their landlord and make arrangements regarding their rent, especially if they cannot trade.

“They should seek advice in relation to their finances and communicate with suppliers. They may also need a contingency plan in relation to excess stock.”

Businesses still in operation to create COVIDSafe plans

All businesses to remain open onsite will have until midnight on Friday to enact a COVIDSafe plan.

This includes the number of workers allowed onsite at any one time, the staggering of shifts and breaks, temperature checks, extra PPE and more support for sick workers to stay home.

Business unsure about their operation can contact the Industry Coordination Centre at the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

The reduced number of employees onsite for many businesses will be dramatic.

Major construction sites will be allowed no more than 25 per cent of the normal workforce, while warehousing and distribution centres will be limited to no more than two-thirds the normal workforce at any one time.

Meatworks operations, the source of numerous coronavirus clusters worldwide, will reduce their production by one third state-wide and will be subject to strict safety protocols that include all staff members wearing PPE.

Financial support

Businesses that suffer “significant losses” as a result of the new restrictions or that will be forced to close will have access to an expanded 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.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced disaster payments for those required to self-isolate.

AAP

In addition, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday a $1,500 disaster payment for workers in Victoria who need to self-isolate for 14 days because of coronavirus but who do not have access to sick leave

People will be able to apply for the payment over the phone from Wednesday and, if required, can apply for it multiple times.

The Victorian government is also providing $1,500 one-off payments to financially support workers who are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19. A $300 Coronavirus Test Isolation Payment is also available.

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am.

During the curfew, people in Melbourne can only leave their house for work, and essential health, care or safety reasons. Between 5am and 8pm, people in Melbourne can leave the home for exercise, to shop for necessary goods and services, for work, for health care, or to care for a sick or elderly relative.

The full list of restrictions can be found here. All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus





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Victoria faces extreme new COVID-19 workplace shutdowns and restrictions


Victorians face fresh shortages of red meat, chicken, fish and even KFC across the state with new workplace shutdowns and restrictions to be announced today to hit the state’s abattoirs, fish markets and call centres.

Call centres will be shut down unless operating for emergency services after a coronavirus outbreak in a Centrelink call centre last month.

Abattoirs will not be completely closed, but their operations will be affected under tough new workplace rules for essential workers.

As anxious shoppers cleared supermarket shelves of meat and chicken on Sunday despite pleas not to panic buy, Victorian government sources also confirmed the new restrictions are likely to impact on supply chains.

Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open under the new restrictions but some other retail outlets are likely to face reduced operating hours to be detailed this afternoon.

Restaurants will remain open for takeaway food and some delivery services.

News.com.au understands that the Victoria’s Industry department is running projections on the impact of the changes to be announced today on supply chains for red meat, poultry and fish.

Ministers in the Victorian government remain in crisis meetings this morning over the details of the changes to be announced by the Premier Daniel Andrews this afternoon.

And Victoria’s crisis council of cabinet, which was established to combat coronavirus, is right now meeting to discuss the impact of new restrictions.

Health authorities are expected to announce 429 new infections in Victoria today. More than 11,500 cases have already been confirmed in the state.

RELATED: Follow our live coverage of Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown

Woolworths has already reintroduced purchase limits in Victorian stores on at least 50 products including meat, fish and dairy products.

A two packet limit per customer remains in force for frozen Vegetables, frozen potatoes, frozen fruit, fish, poultry, prepacked sausages from the meat department, prepacked burger patties, rissoles and meatballs from the meat department.

Eggs, flour, rice, sugar, hand sanitiser, long life milk, mince and paper towels also remain restricted.

Claire Peters, Woolworths Supermarkets managing director urged shoppers to remain calm and not panic buy.

“We understand this is an anxious time for our Victorian customers, but we encourage everyone to continue shopping as they usually would and only buy what they need,’’ she said on Sunday.

“Stock will continue to flow from our distribution centres and as an essential service, Woolworths supermarkets remain open to support customers’ food and grocery needs.

“We ask that our customers continue to adhere to our social distancing and hygiene measures while in store and continue to treat our team and each other with respect while shopping.”

RELATED: Bunnings CEO begs for hardware juggernaut to remain open

Over the weekend, Kentucky Fried Chicken confirmed that the shutdowns in Victoria had already forced some stores to limit opening hours.

“Our chicken supply has been disrupted in Victoria this week and some of our restaurants will only be open for limited hours or may have to close this weekend,” a KFC Australia spokesman said.

“We’re sorry for any issues this causes our customers – we’re doing everything we can to help our suppliers get back on track.”

Abattoirs have proved a site of major COVID-19 outbreaks in Victoria as they have been around the world.

Cedar Meats, the source of a previous outbreak led to more than 100 infections confirmed last week that another worker had tested positive forcing the workplace back into isolation.

Mr Andrews flagged on Sunday that he would outline the tough, new restrictions on workplaces today in a move that could force businesses to stand down thousands of workers for up to six weeks.

“These are not easy decisions to make,” he said.

“That’s why we are taking a bit more time to make sure we have full visibility and understanding of what the impacts of those decisions would be, not just on workers and the business, but on those who rely on the goods.”

The extreme lockdown announced on Sunday already prohibits residents venturing further than 5km radius from home even for supermarket supplies or medicine.

For the first time in Victorian history a curfew has been slapped on all Victorians between 8pm-5am with the only exemptions allowed to travel for work or medical treatment.

Only one person is allowed outside to buy food and essentials each day although there will be some exemptions for small children in the care of an adult who cannot be left at home with another adult.

Ubers and taxis are still allowed to operate but Victorians must wear a mask inside the vehicle and must sit in the back seat to comply with social distancing requirements.

Recreational activities have been banned and the only exercise allowed is for one hour a day and within a 5km radius of the family home.

Childcare centres are closed for families unless they qualify as essential workers and schools have returned to remote learning.



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