Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced nearly all retail businesses will shut for the next six weeks across Melbourne, however essential services like supermarkets will be granted exceptions. While the city is going into an even harder lockdown, the exceptions are designed to make sure nobody goes without.
According the official list of industry closures, “the default is that workplaces in metropolitan Melbourne are closed unless the workplace is part of a permitted industry.” Everyone else is required to work from home, which means almost all office workers.
The six-week closure will apply from midnight on Wednesday, meaning there’s two more days to shop for non-essential goods and go to work like before.
“As heartbreaking as it is to close down places of employment, whilst I never thought I’d be telling people not to go to work, that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious and deadly virus,” Andrews told reporters.
The closures are expected to put hundreds of thousands of Melburnians out of work – people who aren’t otherwise able to work from home.
“We know there is already about 250,000 people stood down in one form or another, and this will add a further 250,000, in rough numbers,” Andrews added.
Here’s what’s happening across the city.
Supermarkets are staying open
For food, everything from supermarkets, to most factories, to the farms themselves will be allowed to operate at their usual capacity, so there’s absolutely no need to panic buy.
“That means people do not need to be going and buying six weeks worth of groceries,” Andrews said.
“You do not need to do that because supermarkets as well as grocery stores, the local fruit and veg, the local butcher, the baker, all of those shops, they will remain open.”
Most other shops will close
However, a bunch of other shops are set to close. Clothes shops, department stores, furniture shops, electronic stores, florists and sex shops, among others, are all set to cease onsite trading. That means you’ll have to turn to online stores for the time being.
News.com.au has confirmed Target, Kmart and Westfield shopping centers will likely be among those closing for the duration of the restrictions.
However, exceptions have been made for bottle shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, post offices and some hardware stores. In other words, shopping for essentials is still allowed.
Takeaway, transport and services
Cafes and restaurants can stay open for takeaway, but food courts will have to shut. Public transport and taxis are also still allowed, as long as you’re heading out for a legitimate reason during daytime hours.
Banks, legal services and emergency services will also be allowed to remain open. Meanwhile, car mechanics and laundromats will be allowed to open “where required to maintain the health and safety of Victorians at home or at work.”
Utilities like electricity and water will also be allowed to continue operating, of course, and so too the jobs needed to support them.
What if I’m not on the list?
If your job doesn’t fall into these categories but reckon it should, you might be able to get an exemption if you’re a sole trader, if your work is critical to local or international supply chains, or if you’re in an industry which simply wouldn’t recover from being shut down.
More to come.