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How Victoria’s ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown impacts your business

Following a cluster of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Melbourne, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a ‘circuit breaker lockdown’ for all Victorians. Here’s what your business needs to know.


On 12 February, Daniel Andrews announced that Victorians would once again be heading into lockdown.

The lockdown, which is planned to last for five days - beginning at 11.59pm on Friday and lasting until midnight on Wednesday evening, will reintroduce the tough Stage 4 Restriction rules Victorians endured in August of 2020, including the ‘four reasons to leave home’ guideline:

  • Shopping for necessary goods
  • Caregiving or compassionate reasons
  • Essential work or permitted education
  • Exercise (for up to two hours)


In a statement released on Friday, Mr Andrews said “I know today will be hard. Likely tomorrow will be even harder... But remember, no one else in the world – anywhere – has achieved what we have.

“Just as we had the courage and conviction to win this war before – we can do it again.”

While the cluster of confirmed cases originating from the airport Holiday Inn grew by five in the 24 hours before the announcement on Friday, resulting in 19 active cases across the State, none of the new cases were classified as ‘mystery cases’, meaning that all could be traced back to an original source.

Following the announcement, VCCI Chief Executive Paul Guerra said “today is Groundhog Day for Victorian businesses who are feeling deeply frustrated about the current COVID-19 situation in Victoria and the impact that these latest restrictions will have on their business.

“This weekend was slated to be one of our busiest for some time, with the Australian Open and other sporting events, Valentine’s Day, weddings and functions planned. Business will once again have to absorb the cost of stock losses, while thousands of Victorians won’t be able to work. It’s another massive blow to our economy which was just starting to get back on its feet.”

Business restrictions

Under the Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ Restrictions, business must adhere to the ‘Circuit Breaker actions’ which were released by the State government on Friday afternoon.

As part of the restrictions, the default position is that workplaces are closed for on-site work unless the workplace is an ‘essential provider’ or employs essential workers.

Click the link below to download the Victorian Government’s detailed list of which sectors are impacted and how. 


While the closure will be devastating for thousands of businesses across the Victoria, there are a number of grants and support payments available to businesses who are required to close. Visit the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website here for more information.

Business that can remain open

Businesses that are exempt from closing must have a strict COVIDSafe plan in place and act with the upmost due diligence to ensure the safety of staff, visitors, and the public.

Those that are allowed to remain open include supermarkets, grocery stores (butchers, bakers, fruit and vegetable stores), bottle shops and petrol stations.

Restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars and hotels can remain open for takeaway orders, but cannot allow diners into their venue.

Businesses that supply goods or service necessary to support any essential provider can remain open such as meat processing or cold storage.

Businesses that are able to continue restricted operations must have a COVIDSafe plan in place.

Businesses that must close

While many retail and office-based businesses will need to cease operations entirely, some retailers will be able to continue operations in a limited capacity with contactless purchasing allowed.

Religious gatherings, indoor sports venues, offices and non-essential retail businesses will be required to work remotely.

Hotel and accommodation providers will be required to close, however, they are allowed to stay open to accommodate those already staying at their venues. No new bookings will be permitted.

Help and support

The Victorian Chamber is here to help you, your business, and your staff during all stages of lockdown.

For more information about the COVID-19 resources available to your business, visit our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources for Business page.

The Victorian Chamber’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing team and Workplace Relations team are always available to assist you and your business work best with your staff.

For more information, HSW consulting, training and other support please contact the HSW team on 03 8662 5333 or to discuss your needs.

For assistance on any aspect of your employment obligations, please call the Victorian Chamber Workplace Relations Advice Line on (03) 8662 5222. 

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