Victoria’s Lockdown Five to continue as Delta variant wreaks havoc across Australia

Victoria will remain in lockdown for at least another week as the COVID-19 Delta variant causes chaos across the nation, placing most of Australia’s population in lockdown.

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A little over 12 hours before Victoria was scheduled to come out of Lockdown Five, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed predictions the State will remain in lockdown for at least another week, following continued cases of COVID-19 in the community. 

A week prior, Victorian COVID-19 Response Commander, Jeroen Weimar, fronted the media to announce that 16 cases of COVID-19 were present in Victoria, resulting in more than 75 exposure sites. Victoria now stands with 85 active cases of COVID-19 across the state, resulting in more than 250 exposure sites. 

Victoria’s lockdown extension announcement came as New South Wales continued to struggle with COVID-19 outbreaks, with hundreds of cases and multiple deaths sweeping the state over the past week. South Australian premier Steven Marshall also announced their state will enter lockdown from 6.00pm on Tuesday as two new cases of the troublesome Delata variant of COVID-19 were discovered in the community.  

With Victoria, News South Wales, the ACT and South Australia all either in lockdown or heading into lockdown, it will bring the total to more than 17 million Australians in lockdown simultaneously - more than two-thirds of our nation’s population.  

While the COVID-19 outbreak sweeps across New South Wales, Premier Andrews also announced a toughening of border restrictions with our neighbour to the north – pausing Red Zone Permits to ensure “we run this Delta outbreak to ground”. 

“The Delta variant is more infectious and moving faster than we’ve seen in any of our other outbreaks and we will not take the risk of opening up too soon – this extension of the current restrictions will help us contain this outbreak,” said Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton in a statement

With the extension of Lockdown Five, the majority of restrictions that were put in place for the initial five-days will continue until Tuesday, 27 July at 11.59pm.  

Minor changes have been made to the Authorised Premises and Authorised Worker List to now include services that operate solely outdoors and where physical distancing can be maintained, such as pet grooming mobile services and pamphlet delivery. 

From 21 July, situations where a parent or carer indicates a student with a disability cannot learn from home, the school must provide on-site learning for that student. 

Following strong advocacy from the Victorian Chamber for assistance to flow immediately, the Federal and State Governments announced on 16 July that new support measures for Victorian businesses and workers, including changes to the Federal Government support package will enable Victorians to access support immediately. 

Many members of the Victorian Chamber have told us of problems accessing the Federal and State support. We are speaking with all levels of government to identify and solve the issues.  

“This is devastating news. Five days has turned into 12 days for Lockdown Five, right off the back of Lockdown Four. Businesses and workers do not have the cash or emotional reserves for further restrictions on trade and work. Governments need to find a way for cash to flow and correctly compensate for their losses. Businesses understand the need to protect public health, but they can’t keep bearing the disproportionate cost of lockdowns,” said Victorian Chamber Chief Executive, Paul Guerra.  

Lockdown restrictions for business 

Under the extended Lockdown Five restrictions, Victorians will continue to be allowed to leave home for five reasons: 

Shopping for food or essential items (within a five kilometre radius) 

  • To provide caregiving or medical treatment 
  • For exercise (up to two hours per day) 
  • Work or study if not possible from home 
  • To get a COVID-19 vaccine 

Identical to the restrictions imposed during Lockdown Four, restrictions for businesses in Victoria include: 

  • Protective facemasks must be worn indoors and outdoors (except for at home) 
  • Essential businesses can remain open – supermarkets, post offices, pharmacies etc. 
  • Pubs, bars, and nightclubs to be closed (takeaway allowed) 
  • Restaurants and cafes to be closed (takeaway and delivery allowed) 
  • Beauty and personal care services to be closed 
  • Gyms and indoor sports centers to be closed 
  • Galleries, museums, zoos to be closed 
  • Holiday accommodation and camping facilities to be closed 
  • Funerals restricted to 10 people (plus staff) 
  • Weddings cancelled 
  • Schools and universities to operate online only 
  • Property auctions must be held online 

Businesses are reminded to make sure all visitors to the workplace use the Service Victoria QR code checking-in system and to have a COVID check-in Marshal present, if required. All workers are also reminded to stay at home if feeling unwell and get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.  

Help and support  

For more information about what requirements are in place and what resources are available for your business, visit the Victorian Chamber’s COVID-19 resources page here.  

As always, the most up-to-date information about restrictions are available on the Victoria Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website. For information about how restrictions affect your business, visit the Business Victoria website.  

If you, as an employer or an employer’s representative feel unsure about what your organisation has in place or would like help in putting a plan in place, please do not hesitate to contact the Victorian Chamber’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) team on 03 8662 5196.  

Members can also call our Workplace Relations Advice Line on 03 8662 5222 to discuss their employment obligations and any issues that arise. 

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