Business calls for a plan and no more lockdowns

Today’s announcement that restrictions will further ease from 11.59 tomorrow, Thursday 17 June, is welcome news that will enable every Victorian business to operate, but the restrictions on Metropolitan Victoria are still too conservative.

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Regional Victoria will take a step closer to COVID Normal with greater limits on hospitality, social gatherings and entertainment while Metropolitan Victoria will remain under stricter conditions. Metropolitan businesses in the fitness, recreation, sport and entertainment sectors can open but entertainment, events and large hospitality will still be restricted at a level that limits their viability. The 25km travel limit and requirement to wear a mask outside will go.

The Victorian Chamber is advocating for a detailed and comprehensive plan from the State Government to deal with future COVID-19 outbreaks that formally considers business submissions as well as the health advice.

The Victorian Chamber is proposing the development of a warning system that would help business to respond swiftly to manage the flow of people and focus on geographic areas rather than locking down the entire state. Every day under restrictions, Victoria loses events, confidence, reputation, jobs and businesses.

The specific requirements around travel to alpine areas is precisely the sort of targeted approach Victoria should adopt. Similarly, the Government should publish daily the number of check-ins that are occurring so that compliance is top of everyone’s mind.

To be attributed to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra:

“The Victorian Chamber welcomes the news that every Victorian business can now open their doors and it’s particularly great news for Regional Victoria. However, this is a step at a time we needed a leap for Metropolitan Victoria where the restrictions remain too conservative, especially for events, entertainment and larger hospitality operators.

“The Victorian Chamber is advocating for business to have a greater say and certainty going forward and wants to see the State Government consult on a detailed plan on how it manages COVID-19, including a warning system with triggers and thresholds and the appropriate response.

“The Government has said that we have to wait seven days for further easing but that current restrictions are a day-by-day scenario. We are advocating for the restrictions to come off in the same day-by-day manner. If things look good, let’s get going and not be restricted by the major weekly announcement, just as the Government would act in increasing restrictions.”

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