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250,000 job losses as Victoria faces Stage 4 restrictions

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced further restrictions for Melbourne businesses and estimated another 250,000 Victorians will lose their jobs as the state struggles to reduce community movement and get the virus under control.

There were 429 new cases of coronavirus recorded in Victoria today (Monday 3 August) and 13 deaths overnight, with eight of those 13 linked to aged care facilities.

A total of 416 Victorians are in hospital with the virus, 35 of whom are in intensive care.

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There are 64,890 active cases in Victoria including 386 in regional Victoria.

Premier Andrews said he announced stage four restrictions yesterday to deal with “how we live our lives” but today’s announcements were about workplaces.

“We need to stop people moving around the community,” he said.

Supermarkets, petrol stations, bottle shops and post offices will remain fully functional while retail, administration and manufacturing will be scaled down.

Premier Andrews highlighted Bunnings as an example and said while people could no longer enter a Bunnings store, they were still able to receive home deliveries.

He said the meat production industry was too important to the nation’s food supply chain to stop production altogether, but were required to reduce production by one-third and workers must now be dressed in full medical personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Essentially the meat workers will wear the same gear as medical personnel – that’s the level of PPE we need to get to.”

The construction industry will face three categories with different levels of restrictions:

  • Large scale government projects will be reduced by half and each project will be reassessed on its own merits.
  • Large scale commercial builds such as apartments, warehouses, and factories (higher than three storeys) are required to reduce their workforce to 25%.
  • Residential builds can continue, at a slowed pace – as only five workers can be on site at any one time.

Premier Andrews said these businesses were being put to a “pilot light setting” as they were not completely shut off, but ready to go when restrictions lift.

Half a million Victorians were working from home, another 250,000 stood down and these restrictions would see another 250,000 people lose their job.

Mr Andrews thanked all Victorians who had done the right thing and were making the best of very bad circumstances.

“We’ve designed something here in Victoria that we think will work.”

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton, said the results of the current restrictions would be seen next week and the effect of today’s announcements would be seen the week after that.

Premier Andrews said these restrictions were necessary because there were so many cases with unknown origins.

He urged people to resist further panic buying, said fears of supply shortages were misplaced and fully supported supermarkets introducing product limits. 

“You may not be able to buy exactly what you want, when you want it, but people will have everything you need.”

From 2 August, a curfew is in place in metropolitan Melbourne from 8pm to 5am every night, with people only allowed to leave their house for work, and essential health, care or safety reasons during the curfew.

Across metropolitan and regional Victoria, everyone must wear a mask when they leave home, unless an exception applies.

The Premier thanked the Prime Minister for his cooperation and said he would make further announcements on financial support after more consultation with the Commonwealth.

“There is no stage five – this has to work.

“The Victorians doing the right thing are – like me – becoming increasingly frustrated with people doing the wrong thing.”

Mr Andrews said there will be some reduction in public transport services and indicated he would make further announcements throughout the week.

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