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Manufacturing work allowed and grants available to businesses as Melbourne lockdown extended

Manufacturing work allowed and grants available to businesses as Melbourne lockdown extended

The COVID-19 lockdown has been extended in Melbourne for another week, while regional restrictions in Victorial are planned to ease from 11:59pm on Thursday. For those that need to check  whether the work they carry out is authorised (this includes all manufacturing, which is allowed), go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/authorised-provider-and-authorised-worker-list.

Financial support will be extended to businesses during this time, with an additional $209 million in grants available for small and medium-sized businesses, as confirmed by Acting Premier James Merlino. This builds on the $250.7 million support package announced last Sunday, taking the total support package to $460 million.

“We now have 60 local cases and more than 350 exposure sites. And a variant of the virus that is quicker and more contagious than we’ve seen before,” said the Acting Premier on 2 June. “To date, the approach has been to track the spread through friends, family and workmates. People spending time together for minutes and hours – not seconds.

“What we’re seeing now is something else – something even more serious. At least one in ten current cases have caught this virus from a stranger. People brushing against each other in a small shop. Getting a take-away coffee from the same cafe. Being in the same place, at the same time for mere moments.  Just walking past someone you’ve never met can mean the virus is jumping to a whole new network. And when you don’t know someone – you don’t know their name or where they live – you’re looking for one person in 6.6 million.

“The best way to stop the virus is vaccination. But as we know, with only two per cent of the population fully vaccinated – if we let this thing run then cases will explode. If that happens, it's our most vulnerable – our parents and grandparents, Victorians with underlying conditions or compromised immunity – who will pay the price.

“It’s why, on the advice of Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, the current restrictions will remain in place in Melbourne for a further seven days, with some small changes.

This will give us a full 14 days – one full cycle of the virus – to make sure we understand how and where this mutation is moving. 

“We know this will have a big impact on businesses, which is why we’ll be extending our financial support, with an additional $209 million in grants,” he said.

For Melbourne, there will still be only five reasons to leave home: shopping for food and supplies, authorised work and study, care and caregiving, exercise, and getting vaccinated. People will be able to travel further for exercise and shopping, with an expanded 10km radius.

Kids in Year 11 and 12 will return to face-to-face learning. That includes students in other year levels who are doing a Unit 3/4 VCE or VCAL subject, while that class is being taught.

And a number of outdoor jobs will be added to the authorised list – things like landscaping, painting, installing solar panels, or letterboxing.

Other restrictions – including mask wearing – will stay the same.

“At the end of another seven days, we want to be in a position to begin carefully easing restrictions for Melbourne,’ said the Acting Premier. “But I need to be upfront that even if all goes well, we won’t be able to have people from Melbourne travelling to regional Victoria over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. The risk of exporting the virus is just too high.”

“No one wants to be here. And I know this news is tough for every Victorian, every family and every business in this state. But the Chief Health Officer has no choice but to give this advice. And the Government has no choice but to follow it.

“If we don't, this thing will get away from us and people will die. No one wants to repeat last winter. To stop that from happening, we need every Victorian to follow the rules, to get tested and to get vaccinated when it's your turn. “We can do this, but we need to do it together,” he concluded.

See also What Victoria’s restrictions mean for industry: ASGA's Mick Harrold

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