Melbourne will suffer a shock shutdown of almost all shops and services for six weeks, with thousands of jobs to be lost.
Panic buyers lining up at supermarkets for meat and fish could actually be right as new restrictions mean production will be slashed by a third.
Melbourne is gripped by Stage 4 lockdown with an 8pm curfew, schools shut down, weddings banned, and citizens restricted to a 5km radius from their home.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday announced thousands more businesses would also have to shut down from Thursday as 429 more cases were diagnosed.
Thirteen more Victorians also lost their lives overnight, bringing the state’s total to 136 and Australia’s to 221.
Victorians lining up at supermarkets to panic buy meat and fish could actually be right with new restrictions set to cause shortages
Shoppers queue into the distance outside a Costco in Melbourne to stock up ahead of Stage Four restrictions and a curfew on Sunday
‘I never thought I’d find myself in a position where I’d have to ask people not to go to work,’ Mr Andrews admitted.
‘There is significant damage there needs to be done here, but to do that damage and fix the health problem and then be able to move then to rebuilding the economy.
‘We know that that damage is not just in dollars, that damage will present in lots of different ways.’
Increased restrictions on what qualifies as an essential business or worker mean most shops and entire industries will have to shut down.
Businesses will be divided up into three categories – essential ones that operate as normal, ones that must slash shifts and output, and those that must close.
Department stores like Myer, David Jones, Target, Big W, and Kmart will all be forced to close – but can sell online an have customers pick up their orders.
Bunnings will be closed to everyone but tradies but as with retailers, other customers will be able to order online and pick up at the store.
The hardware store had begged to stay open to all customers, claiming home DIY and gardening were essential for many people’s mental health during lockdown.
What will still be open in Melbourne Stage 4
Supermarkets, bottle shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, post offices, banks
Retailers working onsite to fulfill online orders
Hardware, building an garden supplies for trade
Specialist stationery for business use
Motor vehicle parts for emergency repairs, mechanics
Locksmiths, laundry and dry cleaners, maternity supplies
Disability and health services and equipment, mobility devices
Farms and commercial fishing
Vets, pounds and animal shelters
Supermarkets will stay open
Construction of critical infrastructure and services to support those projects
Critical repairs to homes where required for emergency or safety
Cafes and restaurants for takeaway
Critical service call centres
Law enforcement and courts for urgent matters
Prisons, facilities for parolees, adult parole board, youth justice facilities
Essential maintenance and manufacturing
What will be closed in Melbourne Stage 4
Personal care including hairdressers
Pubs, taverns, bars, brothels and prostitution services, clubs, nightclubs
Food courts, restaurants, cafes, etc
Architectural, engineering and technical services
Travel and tour agencies
Non-emergency call centre operations
Non-urgent elective surgery
Museums, parks and gardens, ski resorts
Places of worship except what is required to stream services or provide soup kitchens and food banks
Manufacturing of non-metallic mineral and fabricated metal products, furniture, wood, textile, leather fur, dressing knitted, clothing and footwear, domestic appliances
All office-based and professional businesses, except those delivering critical services, must work from home
OPERATING BUT LIMITED
Building sites of more than three storeys – 25 per cent of workforce
Less than three storeys- five workers on site at a time only
Meat processing – workers cut by a third
Shopping centres for access to permitted retail only
Public transport, ride share and taxis only to support access to permitted services for permitted workers
Thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing with minimum number of essential participants to operate safely
Also on the shutdown list are shops selling furniture, homewares, electircal, recreational goods, clothing and shoes, florists, and antiques.
Sales of vehicles, new and used, and car parts will close but mechanics allowed to stay open to keep essential services on the road.
Pharmacies, post offices, banks, petrol stations, bottle shops, and a small list of other businesses will be spared.
Some shopping centres will stay open so customers can access supermarkets and other essential services but others will end up closing.
Cafes and restaurants will continue to provide takeaway services, but people will not be allowed to dine in.
The harsher lockdown has prompted thousands to flock to shops across Melbourne in a new round of panic buying.
Long lines and full trolleys were seen outside supermarkets as early as 7am – even though they would stay open under Stage 4.
‘Everything that is needed and there is no need for people to go and shop for things in bulk, that sense of panic is simply misplaced, we don’t need to do that.
‘Supermarkets as well as grocery stores, the local fruit and veg, the local butcher, the baker, all of those shops, they will remain open.
‘I can’t guarantee that every single product and exactly the volumes that you might like to buy will be there, that there will be enough for people to get what they need. Not necessarily what they want, but get what they need.’
Victoria recorded 671 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday (pictured). A Stage 4 lockdown will see nearly all shops close and high school students back to learning from home
Meet was one of the items people were trying to stock up on – likely freezing it for the weeks of lockdown to come
Australia’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly spiralling out of control because of the second wave of infections in Victoria
However, with meat stocks likely to be affected by the new restrictions, panic buyers snapping up meat to shove in their freezer could be on the money.
Abattoirs and fish markets will stay open but new the workplace rules will severely curtail their production, leading to potential shortages.
They along with warehousing and distribution centres in Melbourne will be limited to no more than two-thirds the normal workforce allowed onsite at any one time.
Stocks could run low at supermarkets, butchers, and even at fast food outlets that source their meat from within metropolitan Melbourne.
What Melbourne’s Stage 4 lockdown means for you
State of disaster: Increased police powers to enforce the lockdown. Cautions will no longer be issued, only $1,652 fines or court summons
Curfew: No one allowed outside 8pm to 6am except for work, medical, caregiving – no shopping or exercising
Distance limit: Shopping and exercise can only be done 5km from home
Exercise: All recreational activity is banned and you can only exercise, with one other person, for one hour a day. Kicking a ball around is ok but not tennis, fishing, golf, boating
Partners: You can visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t live with you, even if they live more than 5km away
Shopping: Only one person can go shopping per household per day
Cafes and restaurants stay open for takeaway, as do supermarkets, etc
Schools: All students learning from home from Wednesday unless they are vulnerable or parents are essential workers. Kindy and childcare close on Thursday (same exceptions apply)
Funerals: No change to funeral limits, but only 10 mourners can leave Melbourne to regional Victoria for one
Weddings: Completely banned
Public transport: Slashed after 8pm and cancelled late at night
‘Whether every single item you might normally buy will be on the shelves, I can’t guarantee,’ Mr Andrews admitted.
‘Meat works, we know that meat works are a really significant challenge for us. Whether it be lamb, poultry or beef, they will move to two thirds production, reduce their production by one third,’ Mr Andrews said.
One of the biggest outbreaks in the first wave on infections was at the Cedar Meats abattoir, which likely weighed heavily in government decision making.
Woolworths on Sunday put two-item restrictions on more than 50 products as shoppers started to clean out shelves across Victoria yet again.
Call centres were singled out after an outbreak among Centrelink phone workers last month, and the close quarters they often work in.
Hairdressers will also be forced to close as will ordinary retail stores such as electrical and clothing.
On Monday, only a few clothing and video games shops remained open in Melbourne’s CBD.
Construction will also be hit hard with as few as five workers allowed on site to keep building for the next six weeks.
Government infrastructure projects will have workers cut in half and any building three storeys or higher to just 25 per cent of normal.
House building will have to carry on with just five workers on site at a time.
‘Unless we have literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people at home and not going to work,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘Hundreds of thousands less movements around the community each and every day, then we will not pull this virus up.’
Tradies will also suffer along with builders as anything other than emergency repairs, such as broken gas heaters and plumbing, is banned.
‘There’ll be no cleaners going to your house. There’ll be no-one mowing your lawns,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘There’ll be no-one providing anything other other than emergency support. If you need a plumber because a pipe has burst, then yes, you can have a plumber come and do that work.
‘But it’s not the time to be painting your house or having unnecessary, non-urgent work happen.’
Shelves were picked clean as Melburnians feared the lockdown would make it difficult for them to buy food
The vegetable aisle at this Woolworths is cleaned out – but veggies will not be affected by the lockdown the same way meat is likely to be
Even industries allowed to stay open with reduced capacity, like abattoirs, will look ‘very different’ with strict safety rules in place.
‘There will be some of the most stringent safety protocols that have ever been put in place in any industrial setting,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘Those workers will be essentially dressed as if they were a health worker. Gloves and gowns, masks and shields, they will be working in one workplace only.
‘They will be temperature checked, a will be tested.’
Businesses in regional Victoria can apply for a $5,000 grant and those in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can apply for up to $10,000 in recognition of spending longer under restrictions.
Federal Government chips in cash
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced cash payments of $1,500 for anyone who couldn’t work because they needed to self-isolate.
‘This pandemic is a disaster. And we need a disaster payment when it comes for people who have to isolate for a period of 14 days through no fault of their own, regardless of what what job they’re in or employment they’re in – they need that support,’ he said on Monday after Mr Andrew’s press conference.
‘For those who have no more sick leave available to them, that they will be eligible for a $1,500 payment for the fortnight.
‘They will principally be made to those on short-term visas – those who are not permanent residents or citizens of Australia who otherwise wouldn’t have accessed Commonwealth payments.’
The scheme will be very similar to what has already been operating in Victoria since the second outbreak began there.
Mr Morrison said the Victorian Government would continue paying for its scheme, which hands out cash to people while they wait for test results.
The PM said he would discuss merging them into a national program.
‘It’ll be there for as long as the government considers it a disaster – we’ve left it open-ended at this point,’ he said.
‘Once the pandemic disaster is, we hope, returned to the sort of situation you’re seeing in other states currently, then that’s when disaster payments traditionally are no longer applied.
‘But we anticipate that this payment will be needed for some time.’
Mr Morrison encouraged everyone else in Australia to support their Victorian friends and family as it could easily have been them.
‘If you’ve got friends in Victoria, call them. Cheer them up. Encourage them,’ he said.
Let them know you’re there for them if you’re in a state in a much better situation, which, thankfully, all other states and territories are. Offer whatever support you can.’
Mr Andrews warned even harsher restrictions – a Stage 5 – could come in if Stage 4 didn’t end the crisis or Victorians didn’t follow the rules.
‘What is clear is that if we don’t do this now, if this doesn’t work, then we’ll need a much longer list of complete shutdowns,’ he said.
‘It’s hard to imagine what a Stage 5 might look like. But it would radically change the way people live.
‘Not just rules on when and where you can go shopping – but restrictions on going shopping at all.’
A shopper loads up a big trolley at Aldi as panic buying set in on Sunday afternoon
Huge trolleys were a common sight at supermarkets across Melbourne as shoppers rushed to get goods hours before lockdown
Stage 4 began at 6pm on Sunday and will last until at least September 13 unless cases miraculously plummet before that date.
Regional Victoria will go back into Stage 3 lockdown from 11.59pm on Wednesday as the virus spreads beyond hardest-hit Melbourne.
Melbourne’s curfew is in effect between 8pm and 5am every day, the only reasons to leave home during these hours will be work, medical care and caregiving.
Only one person in a household can go shopping per day and exercise is limited to one hour a day – both must be within 5km from home.
All recreational activity is banned and no more than two people can be together outside, even if they are from the same family or household.
‘That means it’s fresh air. It’s a jog. It’s a walk. It’s in your local neighbourhood. It is staying close to home or in your home,’ Mr Andrews said on Sunday.
He admitted the one-hour limit wouldn’t be enforceable, but that police would be vigilant about the 5km as ‘you are or you aren’t’ close enough.
The premier said the extremely tight restrictions was necessary to prevent to the lockdown dragging on until Christmas.
‘Six weeks versus a slower strategy. A much, much slower strategy that takes up to six months,’ he said.
Long lines and full trolleys were seen outside supermarkets as early as 7am
Bourke Street in the heart of Melbourne resembled a ghost town on Sunday night as the tough new curfew kicked in at 8pm
Partners who don’t live together will still be able to visit each other, even if they live more than 5km apart.
Weddings are completely banned and though funerals can go ahead, only 10 people can travel from Melbourne to regional Victoria to attend one.
Melbourne school students – about a million children – will have to learn remotely unless their parents are essential workers, or they are vulnerable children who need to learn face-to-face.
They will go to school on Monday, have a pupil free day on Tuesday, and be learning at home from Wednesday.
The General Achievement Test for year 12 students will be moved from the end of term three to the start of term four.
The VCE exam dates will not change, finishing by December 2 as planned and ATAR results handed out by the end of the year.
Kindy and pre-primary students will go home from Thursday, and childcare centres will be closed for children whose parents aren’t essential workers.
Mr Andrews warned that police would no longer issue cautions or show leniency, they will just fine people $1,652 or drag them before courts.
Protective Service Officers patrol Swanston street before a citywide curfew was introduced in Melbourne