Western Australia may be hosting the AFL Grand Final this year but Victorians will still get a public holiday.
Due to stage four coronavirus restrictions, the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs will compete in Perth’s Optus Stadium in the 2021 AFL premiership cup this Saturday.
Punters in Perth will celebrate the grand final in a starkly different setting to Victorians, with the Optus Stadium welcoming up to 60,000 fans.
In Victoria, Greater Melbourne, Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire will be in COVID-19 lockdown over the Grand Final weekend.
But the Victorian government has not budged on its annual AFL Grand Final eve public holiday, which will take place this Friday September 24.
A Victorian government spokesperson confirmed today that the grand final public holiday will go ahead as scheduled.
“While we might be at home, there are plenty of people who will be looking forward to a quieter day after a tough few months,” the spokesperson told SmartCompany.
Last month, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews first confirmed the public holiday would remain on September 24 despite the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Andrews told reporters the public holiday will go ahead as planned and encouraged residents to use their day off to get vaccinated.
“I think it might be a ‘go and get vaccinated’ day. Yes, it’s a gazetted public holiday, as we’ve committed,” he said.
Andrews said he wants every Victorian to get vaccinated so that next year’s grand final could run as normal and Victorians could attend the parade.
“I think that’d be a fantastic thing — and then go to a packed MCG,” he said.
Under public holiday requirements, businesses in Victoria may need to pay their workers penalty rates for each hour worked on Friday, time off in lieu, or add annual leave for each hour worked.
For many hospitality businesses, it may not even be viable to have staff work on the public holiday if they have to pay penalty rates.
A restaurant that opens to sell takeaway products would be required to pay a 20-year-old casual worker $49.60 instead of $24.80 on the introductory level of the Restaurant Award.