Victoria enters 2nd lockdown, retail stores to close

As Victoria is entering its second lockdown, with Melbourne being placed under stage 4 Coronavirus lockdown and stage 3 for the rest of Victoria, what does this mean for retailers and wholesalers in the gift and homewares industry?

Premier Daniel Andrews announced yesterday afternoon three lists that will apply during stage 4 restrictions.

All open businesses and services will have until 11:59pm Friday 7 August to enact a CovidSafe plan. This plan must focus on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace.

Retail services that will continue to operate include supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, news agencies and post offices.

Any other retail stores will need to close by 11.59pm Wednesday 5 August, unless they have specific circumstances that mean they need longer to shut down safely. However, they can operate contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place.

Warehousing and distribution centres in Melbourne will be limited to no more than two-thirds the normal workforce allowed onsite at any one time.

Industries that must close include non-essential retail; furniture manufacturing; textile, leather product and knitted product manufacturing; wholesale trading unrelated to food and medical supplies.

“If we're serious about driving this thing down—and we absolutely must be—we need to take unprecedented steps in limiting the movement of people, and therefore limiting the movement of this virus,” Andrews said yesterday in a statement.

“I understand this will have real and heavy consequences for a number of businesses, workers and their families. We'll do everything we can to lighten that load.

“For those businesses that suffer significant losses or need to close as a result of the current restrictions, we will provide support through our expanded Business Support Fund.

“Businesses in regional Victoria can apply for a $5,000 grant while those in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can apply for up to $10,000 in recognition of spending longer under restrictions.”

The restrictions are meant to last for up to six weeks.