Victoria’s lockdown to continue; NSW clamps down on retail, construction

By Sarah Stowe | 19 Jul 2021 View comments

Premier Daniel Andrews has said the Victorian lockdown will continue beyond tomorrow’s midnight deadline.

Victoria has reported 13 new Covid cases overnight. The state went into a five-day snap lockdown on Friday 16 July.

Andrews said “We will not be ready to lift those restrictions at midnight tomorrow. It would be a few days of sunshine and then we’d be in lockdown again. We want to open with a sense of confidence that we can stay open.

“This lockdown will be on as long as it needs to be, and not a minute longer.”

Andrews has said he will update the community tomorrow on the extension to the shutdown.

However, he did hint that it will be some time before the border reopens, even if the NSW restrictions are lifted.

He said “The ongoing challenge is defending the northern border, and ensuring no-one comes into the state transmitting Covid”.

In New South Wales the news of a shut down of all construction except emergency repair work, and the closure of the majority of retail outlets, came on Saturday.

This is the first time such a restriction has been placed on the NSW construction industry and it includes property maintenance, renovations and cleaning services.

Brendan Green, CEO of Hire A Hubby, told Inside Franchise Business Executive he is supportive of the health directives to operate safely and following protocol but questions the blanket ban on maintenance work.

There are isolated instances where franchisees could be working, repairing external structures, for instance.

“First and foremost we want to protect our guys and protect our customers, and find the ways to do it safely, so we can take away anxiety.

“Most are man in a van businesses, they drive around, click and collect supplies, and they can be working outside quite comfortably and safely. All our work orders go electronically through our app, it’s all cloud-based,” he said.

While the focus has been on retail and construction, there are other measures now in place in NSW to inhibit the continuing instances of workplace transmission of Covid. This includes a $10,000 fine to be handed out on the spot to employers telling their office-based staff not to work from home.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said “We’ve doubled the fine for employers who might think it’s acceptable to tell staff to come in.”

There’s no clear end in sight for the NSW lockdown with Premier Gladys Berejiklian reiterating restrictions will end as soon as possible.

But she did warn that Australians will have to live with some form of restrictions until we have a high vaccination rate across the country.

“We have to find a way to live safely and freely until at least the end of October,” she said.