Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced Stage 1 of a shutdown of non-essential activities across the state from midday today. The businesses that will close due to the Stage 1 shutdown include pubs, clubs, nightclubs, Crown Casino, and licensed venues in hotels and pubs.
The autumn school holidays will also be brought forward, essentially shutting public schools from tomorrow. The government has acknowledged that there will be some confusion about these restrictions, and further details will be communicated over the coming days.
We believe the community sector must be exempt from any shutdown. The UK has done this. People working in child protection, disability support, family violence, homelessness, community health, residential care and dozens of other areas must be allowed to keep working. Crucially, this will take the pressure off mainstream health services so they can do their job combating the virus. Only by permitting all community service workers to keep helping people over the months ahead will we all get through these trying times.
Victorians in mandatory self-isolation running short on food and unable to have any dropped-off by friends are now eligible for a "food and personal care package", with a two-weeks supply of items like long-life milk, pasta, canned fruit, cereal and sugar, as well as some personal care items. People wishing to request a pack should call Victoria’s dedicated Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398
VCOSS and the Victorian Trades Hall Council will be working with the Victorian Government to develop a scheme that matches people out of work with jobs that need doing during the pandemic. That might be hospitality workers helping feed people in isolation, or it could be factory workers helping clean trains and trams. The Victorian Government has announced $500 million to establish this Working for Victoria Fund.