Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has released the handbrake on his
jurisdiction’s economy, announcing that many of the state’s businesses will be
allowed to reopen – albeit with strict COVID-safe regulations – from 11.59 pm
The retail sector, including market stalls and auction houses can open
their doors. Cafes, bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve up to 10
people per indoor space with one person per four square metres – up to a total of
20 people indoors – and up to 50 patrons outside with one person per two square
metres. Indoor food courts will be allowed to accommodate two people per table
with a density quotient of one person per eight square metres, while outdoor
food courts will be subject to the same rules as those for outdoor areas of
Hairdressing and beauty salons will be allowed to open, but to only offer
services that can be provided with both worker and client wearing a face mask –
so, for example, manicures, pedicures, body waxing, and tattooing are
permissible but beard trims are still outlawed. Real estate inspections will be
allowed in accordance with record-keeping requirements and density quotients,
up to a maximum of 10 people from two households excluding the real estate agent;
auctions must be conducted outdoors and will be restricted to 10 members of the
public, plus the minimum number of people required to conduct the auction and
the owners of the property.
The manufacturing and construction sectors will no longer be subject to
a limit on the number of workers, although strict COVID-safe regulations will continue
In all cases, a “dark opening” applies with effect from yesterday’s announcement,
meaning employees can return to work in advance of the 11.59 pm deadline to
engage in “reasonable activity in line with preparing for the opening of their
Melburnians will still be restricted to travelling no further than 25 km
from their home unless they have a permit to do so until midnight on 8 November,
and the “ring of steel” cutting the city off from the rest of the state will
also remain in place until that date.
The move has been greeted with widespread relief by the business community,
alongside some frustration at the amount of time it has taken to get to this
stage and at the fact that Melbourne and regional Victoria will not be “reunited”
for another fortnight.
Jennifer Westacott – chief executive of the Business Council of
Australia – described the reopening as “an important and much-needed step in
the right direction” but urged the Victorian Government to work with business
to ensure the state can fully reopen.
“It’s disappointing that many businesses will need to wait until 8
November before they have any certainty about reopening,” Westacott said. “Businesses
need a plan now so they have the confidence to restock their shelves, rehire
workers and get ready to reopen their doors.
“This needs to be a clear plan with clear dates and milestones and be subject to meeting health targets. We cannot afford to have a stop-and-start approach to restrictions.”