Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews extends 5km restriction to 25km among other easings, state records two new cases, no deaths for Sunday; Australian death toll stands at 904 – The Sydney Morning Herald
From the front door of his shop, David Gardner can see For Lease signs flapping on windows up and down the famed Sydney Road strip.
Attic Signs sits towards the northern end of a three-kilometre precinct that’s full of small businesses, more than 500 shops, cafes, bakeries and bars, with hardly a chain store or franchise among them.
David Gardner has taken to painting his feelings about COVID-19 on his own shopfront.Credit:Justin McManus
Almost all are feeling the pressure from Melbourne’s sustained lockdown and Mr Gardner, a sign-writer, says his business was among the first to cop it – a canary in the COVID-19 coalmine.
“When the Formula 1 [grand prix] was cancelled in March, that’s when I lost all my work,” he said. “I had pretty much the entire month booked out. I remember I woke up at 7 o’clock. By 9.30 that morning I went from having 20 days of work down to three. And then by the end of the day I only had one day. Everybody just cancelled and bailed.”
Despite fears about people self-medicating with alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study has found younger Australians actually drank less, while older people shifted their alcohol consumption to home.
Researchers at the University of NSW’s Social Policy Research Centre found two in three people surveyed have either reduced their alcohol intake or kept it the same since February.
John Williamson says Australian culture has a toxic, macho element that glorifies heavy drinking.Credit:Natasha Louise Photography
Lead researcher Professor Alison Ritter said while we should be concerned about the one in three people who have increased their drinking, overall it was “a good news story”.
“Quite a few people stopped drinking altogether and in fact, talked about lockdown being a catalyst for changes to exercise to diet, to their alcohol consumption, and so on,” Professor Ritter said. “We need to celebrate people’s capacity and resilience and agency and self care.”
Two major Australian business councils say they are “extremely disappointed” by the decision to delay opening for another two weeks.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday that retailers could not open their doors to customers until November 2, with hospitality unable to progress past take-away until that date.
BCA CEO Jennifer Westacott.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
But he did flag that the third step announcement regarding businesses could be brought forward, depending on case numbers across Victoria in the next week.
The Business Council of Australia’s chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the decision was an “an inexplicable and unacceptable delay” for business owners and customers.
“Adopting a wait and see approach to easing restrictions is not an answer for people who face a bleak Christmas and businesses that are trying to get back up and running,” she said.
“For businesses, it is now a day to day proposition, not a week to week one, whether they remain viable or close their doors forever.
“There is no sound reason to continue the restrictions on business, especially with case numbers clearly on a downward trajectory.”
Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia chief executive Peter Strong said the Premier and other government decision-makers “obviously have no experience with business” after Sunday’s announcement.
“They seem to think that a business owner will just turn the key to their business and things will start as they did before while magically being COVID safe,” he said.
“We are extremely disappointed by the lack of understanding of the impact on small business people and their employees and customers … If normal means having hundreds of thousands of unemployed people then it is a normal that we do not want.”
Mr Strong said he was “pleased” that business owners now had clarity about when reopening would be possible, and that Victoria had gotten on top of COVID-19 case numbers.
Melbourne’s spring – a time of football finals, Flemington fashions and sunny hearts – has gone missing but after exhausting months of grief, fear and claustrophobia, Victorians finally have a chance to enjoy that rarest of qualities, hope.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday.Credit:Wayne Taylor
Even small businesses, retailers and hospitality industries, frustrated beyond measure and many of them all but ruined, have the chance of discerning a flickering candle at the end of this long tunnel when they are allowed to reopen by November 1.
Premier Daniel Andrews has held out to them a date to work towards, though they must endure a longer wait than ordinary citizens before they can begin crawling towards it.
Andrews clearly knows the dramatic reduction in numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths is a double-edged sword for his damaged administration.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has now clarified that he was present for part of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee meeting where the travel bubble was considered on Monday, but was not in the meeting when the subject was discussed.
There were 55 people who flew to Melbourne airport on Friday, after starting their journey in New Zealand and travelling via New South Wales as part of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton on Saturday.Credit:Chris Hopkins
The use of the travel bubble to allow those from overseas to enter Victoria has caused significant frustration within the state government.
Professor Brett Sutton said he missed much of the start of the meeting because he was at Victoria’s daily press conference and then had to travel to his office.
“I was not there for the beginning and not there for that part of the conversation that was referenced yesterday, I was in at the 45 minute mark or thereabouts … so I was not there for that particular discussion,” he said.
However, Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng was at the meeting for its whole duration.
It comes after federal minister Alan Tudge tweeted on Saturday that minutes of the AHPPC meeting stated Professor Sutton was in attendance, where “the matter of domestic onward travel of NZ arrivals was discussed”.
Premier Daniel Andrews weighed in on Sunday afternoon, saying that if the meeting of Chief Health Officers were the decision-makers on this, “then I don’t know why I have been firing letters back and forth to the Prime Minister dealing with these very issues”.
“I didn’t delegate to a group of officials. I don’t think the Prime Minister did either. Whatever happened there, I can’t change it. None of us can change that,” he said.
“But I do not think it is unreasonable for us to be concerned if a whole bunch of people from another country turn up in Melbourne when we were of the view that we were not part of that arrangement.”
The Victorian government has on Sunday unveiled changes to the coronavirus restrictions that apply around the state.
Within those changes there are a number of differences that apply to business and industry.
Below is a list of some of the changes that will apply from 11.59pm on Sunday night and under the next planned easing of the rules on November 1.
This is a breaking story that will be updated so please come back to check for new information.
This article breaks down the changes for work, food industry, retail and services, accommodation and entertainment.
There has been a new case in the regional town of Kilmore, which has come as a surprise to Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.
A staff member at Kemp’s Bakery has tested positive, and worked between October 1 and October 11 and was not believed to have been infectious during that period.
Kemp’s Bakeries in both Kilmore and Wandong will be closed for cleaning.
The Kilmore and District Hospital said staff from both bakeries should isolate at home until they receive a negative test result.
“All staff from both bakeries who worked between those dates are asked to get tested as soon as possible, even if they don’t have any symptoms,” the hospital said in a Facebook post.
“The families and household members of Kemp’s Kilmore staff are requested to isolate until their household staff member receives a negative result. They do not need to get tested, unless they have symptoms.”
Professor Brett Sutton said the health department was “prompting people (in Kilmore) to test, more broadly, if they are symptomatic at all”.
“We were confident that we have looked extremely hard at anyone who had had contact with that cafe and all of those who tested positive in Kilmore so yes, it is surprising,” he said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says there will be differences in how people can do outdoor workouts or play games like tennis and golf once they return.
Using golf as an example since he was more familiar with it, Mr Andrews said golfers would be unlikely to play in groups of four as usual or be able to use shared equipment like rakes in bunkers.
So expect smaller playing groups and other solutions for fixing up sand bunkers in between shots.
“Golf is normally played in fours,” Mr Andrews said.
“I do not think it will be played in fours. I think it will be played in less than that. There is usually some equipment that is shared, rakes in bunkers and things like that. I do not think that will be the case.
“They will be different steps in different settings to try to make it as safe as possible, and for instance, the clubhouse at the tennis club or the golf club will not be open. It is an outdoor activity.
“It is a playing field you are getting access to. I have already had a conversation with Golf Australia and I think just as one example, they will be all sorts of protocols, they will not want every member to turn up on the one day. They will have to do, you know, bring some order to doubt, try to space it out, if you like.”
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