PUBS, clubs, gyms, restaurants, cafes and churches closed at noon yesterday, March 23, after a decree from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
However, while all Victorian schools will close today, Tuesday, March 24 with the intention of reopening on Tuesday, April 14, the state has escaped the more draconian shutdown of businesses and services indicated by the Premier Daniel Andrews in a statement last Sunday.
“I will inform National Cabinet tonight that Victoria will proceed over the next 48 hours to implement a shutdown of all non-essential activity across our state to combat the spread of Coronavirus,” Mr Andrews said.
He said Victorians would still be able to go to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy and other essential stores, like petrol stations and convenience stores. Freight, logistics and home delivery are also considered essential and would remain open.
“We’ve closed pubs and clubs but that doesn’t mean you can put on a barbecue with 15 mates at home. That will spread the virus and people will die.
“We can have the situation where if you have a dinner party and one person at the dinner party has coronavirus, by the time the people get up from the dinner party, they could all leave with coronavirus.
Term Two starts on April 14 but I want the teachers to do the work in preparation for distance learning if we have to go that way. But I don’t want to get to the start of next term and not have those measures in place if we can’t go back to school,” the Premier said yesterday.
But the Federal Government has since forced Mr Andrews to backdown.
The inconsistency left a lot of workers wondering if they should turn up for work on Monday. However, for now, only those businesses and other places of assembly outlined by the Prime Minister will close.
Both said that members of the public flouting the rules of social distancing and isolation over the weekend, and other irresponsible acts like a traveller from Bali boarding a V/Line bus to Phillip Island, has caused the government to go for more restrictive bans.
Premier Andrews warned that Stage Two restrictions, likely to involve more business shutdowns of the kind he foreshadowed at the weekend could follow if people don’t observe the rules.
The Middle Pub at Korumburra ceremonially served up its last drinks before closing indefinitely at 12pm yesterday, Monday March 23, as part of the nationwide lockdown of non-essential services to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Bar and gaming manager Ash Verdon said around 20 casual staff would be out of a job for the foreseeable future, with five full-time staff to continue to attend the venue to provide takeaway meals and bottle shop sales and strategise on the way forward for the business.
Though classic rock and roll hits were blasting throughout the bar on Monday morning, as a handful of regulars enjoyed their ‘last hurrah,’ Ash said it was a sad day for the Korumburra institution, and many other local businesses.
“A lot of workers are up in the air because we don’t have the answers as to when we’re going to open again. We’ve been told it could be a couple of weeks, or it could be six months. It’s hard times. But we’re just going to have to take each day as it comes.”
Fellow bar staff member Jai Rapson said it would be strange coming to work in an empty pub.
“Our customers are very loyal; they’re like a second family, so it’s going to be weird not seeing them every day.”
At Voyage Gym in Wonthaggi this morning, members were in for their last workout before the noon closure.
Manager Jake Wright delivered the gym’s message with “a heavy heart” but stressed the need to stay active and healthy through the crisis.
“I will be putting up a daily workout online, one designed for use in the home, and I encourage everyone to come on and use it.”
• Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
• Gyms and indoor sporting venues
• Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
* Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
• Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).
Other rules include:
• No non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people outside or more than 100 people inside.
• All non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per 4sqm. All Australians should expect their local businesses to be following this rule.
• Where possible, keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others
• Avoid non-essential travel
• Restrictions on entering aged care homes to protect older Australians.
Last drinks, please!