Thousands of small businesses across Melbourne will go back into Stage 3 restrictions on Wednesday, after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced sweeping new lockdown measures on Tuesday afternoon.
The restrictions will come into effect at midnight on Wednesday, July 8, and are expected to last six weeks, until Wednesday, August 19. They will apply to all of metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, north of Melbourne. A full list of the areas going into lockdown is available here.
Stage 3 restrictions mean individuals have only four reasons to leave their homes: shopping for food and supplies; care and caregiving; exercise; and school and work, if they cannot do those activities from home.
Businesses such as beauty parlours, gyms, libraries and facilities such as swimming pools will all need to close, while cafes and restaurants will be restricted to take-away and delivery services only. Retail stores and hairdressers will be allowed to open, subject to social distancing conditions.
The city-wide lockdown comes after the government placed restrictions across 12 postcodes in Melbourne, following sustained increases in the number of coronavirus cases being recorded in the state.
On Tuesday, Andrews said Victoria had recorded 191 new cases. There are 2824 cases in total across the state, with 772 of those active. The Premier said 35 people are now in hospital and nine are in intensive care.
Premier Andrews said his government will soon announce additional support measures for businesses affected by the new restrictions, and told business owners he knows and understands “how significant” the restrictions will be to them.
He also flagged the potential for additional federal government support for Melbourne businesses, saying he will speak with Prime Minister Scott Morrison about the “very special needs” of businesses in the state.
Businesses that operate within the 36 suburbs that initially re-entered Stage 3 restrictions on July 1 are eligible for one-off grants of $5000 from the state government. The government has not yet announced whether the same grants will be extended to all Melbourne businesses affected by the new restrictions.
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, Premier Andrews once again flagged further support measures for businesses, which he said will be announced soon.
“There’s no doubt that there’s very significant economic damage right throughout this global pandemic,” he said.
“This virus is causing enormous damage to jobs, to businesses, to profits, to the state budget and, indeed, household budgets. There’s no question about that.
“That’s why JobKeeper, JobSeeker, the payroll tax refunds that we provided, the business grants we’ve provided, and the next package of support that we will very soon announce, are so, so important.”
This article was updated at 12pm on Wednesday, July 8.