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STAGE 4 LOCKDOWN Thousands Of Vic Workers Ordered To Stay At Home

MELBOURNE: Telecommunications companies and the media have largely escaped shut-down, as Victoria enters a Stage 4 lockdown, due to the surge in coronavirus cases in the State. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that most businesses not deemed essential by his government will have to close their doors.

Health authorities reported 429 new cases and 13 fatalities in Victoria yesterday, with many more expected today (Tuesday).

Essential services, such as food and healthcare, have escaped the sweeping orders and will open for business as usual, while media organisations such as newspapers, television and radio have also been given an exemption.

It’s not clear, however, if online businesses such e-commerce sites, social media or software companies are included.

Parts of telecommunications companies such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, essential to business operations, will be allowed to operate, but call centres will have to close, affecting hundreds of workers linked to those companies.

Retail banking will remain open, but other financial services and call centres will have to shut. Shops that can remain operating include supermarkets, food stores, liquor shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, newsagents, post offices and outlets selling disability and maternity supplies.

Hardware, building and garden stores such as Bunnings and Mitre 10 will be open to tradespeople only. The public will be limited to ”click and collect” pick-up only.

Only two thirds of the workforce at warehouses and distribution centres will be allowed onsite at any one time.

Pubs, bars and food courts, hairdressers, furniture stores, car washes, travel agencies, and other businesses will have to close their doors.

An estimated 250,000 workers have been told to stay at home, with the cost to the economy and businesses expected to be in the billions of dollars.

A permit system will be introduced to make it easier for essential workers to explain why they are out at night after curfews were introduced across Melbourne from 8:00pm to 5:00am each night until the crisis is over. – Chris Castellari

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