Drastic new measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia were announced over the weekend, with a list of non-essential businesses, along with schools, ordered to shut up shop immediately.
On Sunday afternoon, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced he would inform the National Cabinet that night that Victoria would proceed to implement a shutdown of all non-essential activity across the state over the coming 48 hours to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Following the meeting of the National Cabinet Mr Andrews confirmed on Monday morning that stage one of the shutdown of non- essential activity would begin from midday.
“This is not something that we do lightly, but it’s clear that if we don’t take this step, more Victorians will contract coronavirus, our hospitals will be overwhelmed and more Victorians will die,” Mr Andrews said in a statement.
Stage one of the shutdown will see the closure of pubs, clubs, nightclubs, Crown Casino, and licensed venues in hotels and pubs. It also includes gyms, indoor sporting venues, places of worship, cinemas and entertainment venues.
Restaurants and cafés will only be allowed to provide home delivery or takeaway services.
Businesses considered essential including supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, petrol stations, convenience stores and bottle shops will remain open.
The upcoming school holidays, which were due to begin this Friday, were brought forward to start today, however at this stage kindergartens and childcare will stay open.
“The decision will be reviewed regularly by the National Cabinet, and speaking as honestly as possible, it’s likely that governments across Australia will need to go further in the days and weeks ahead,” Mr Andrews said.
For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Tuesday, March 24