Yesterday Victoria recorded the country’s worst day in the Covid-19 pandemic, reporting 15 deaths and 725 new cases. Victoria also went into a period of extraordinarily strict lockdown as the state government scrambles to get the outbreak under control, forcing many businesses to close their doors.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on 4 August that Melbourne would move to Stage 4 from midnight yesterday (5 August) and regional areas to Stage 3.
“I never thought I’d find myself in a position where I’d have to ask people not to go to work,” Andrews said.
“But if we're serious about driving this thing down – and we absolutely must be – we need to take unprecedented steps in limiting the movement of people, and therefore limiting the movement of this virus.”
Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, newsagencies, post offices plus frontline responders will continue to operate. Industries where onsite operations will have to cease include retail, some manufacturing and administration.
However, many manufacturing businesses will be able to stay open for on-site work, albeit with a Covid-Safe Plan.
Victoria’s Stage 4 Business Restrictions Guide (download here), released earlier this week, states the following types of businesses can stay open with a Covid-Safe Plan:
Any ancillary business (including IT) involved in the production, supply, manufacture, repair, maintenance, cleaning, security, wholesale, distribution, transportation or sale of equipment, goods or services necessary for the operations of a permitted work site or for closed work sites where there are safety or environmental obligations
- Food and beverage production manufacturing
- Meat and meat product manufacturing
- Seafood processing
- Dairy product manufacturing
- Fruit and vegetable processing
- Oil and fat manufacturing
- Grain mill and cereal product manufacturing
- Bakery product manufacturing
- Sugar and Confectionery manufacturing
- Other food and beverage product manufacturing
Automotive, machinery and equipment repair and maintenance are permitted to operate where providing support to a permitted service or industry or where required to maintain the health and safety of Victorians at home or at work.
Also, starting from yesterday (Wednesday 5 August), all staff working during the Stage 4 restrictions must carry a permit issued by their employer.
According to the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety, penalties of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 will apply to employers and workers who breach the scheme requirements. There are also on-the-spot fines of up to $1652 for individuals and $9913 for businesses for anyone breaching the scheme requirements, including employers and employees who are not carrying their permit when travelling to and from work.
To issue a permit, employers must download and fill out a template (which can be found here, sign the permit, and ask the employee to sign it as well.
Andrews said all open businesses and services will have until 11:59pm Friday 7 August to enact a COVIDSafe plan focused on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace.
“Beating this virus requires a rapid response wherever it rears its head,” he said.
CIn industries that can’t close, but where we’ve seen a number of cases or emerging new risks, we’ll be making some big changes to make these workplaces safer – for workers and for their families. That includes mandated reductions to the number of workers onsite.”
The Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) has prepared a Covid-19 restriction handbook. It is an in-depth guide to assist its members and the industry to navigate state government (particularly Victoria) policies and restrictions related to the pandemic.
APPMA general manager Michael Moran told PKN: “During these every changing times it is vital the APPMA provide as much support as possible to our members. We recognise that not all members have either the time and/or teams at the ready to explore and understand all of the complexities associated with managing their businesses under the Covid-19 restrictions.
“The last thing we want to see is members unnecessarily incurring penalties and/or losing business. To help, the APPMA team has been hard at work to provide members with consolidated access to information and required documentation which is being distributed via email, social media and the APPMA website, with progressive updates as information becomes available,” he said.
“For more information we encourage members to access the APPMA COVID-19 Handbook which can be found on the APPMA website. The handbook and information available will assist members and the industry to navigate policies, subsidies and restrictions related to Covid-19.”
Moran said APPMA will continue to explore additional support opportunities as needs arise.
Among the key topics covered in the handbook are compliance with state border controls, access to support services, and available state and federal subsidies.
The information in the handbook is current as of 4 August. The APPMA said it would update the guide as more information is made available.
The handbook can be downloaded here.
The APPMA also maintains a page on its website dedicated to pandemic issues. It includes all updates and communications the association receives from federal and state government bodies.