More restrictions likely as the numbers grow

Sarah Luke

STAGE two restrictions came into force from midnight on Wednesday, with more businesses forced to close their doors in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

According to Premier Daniel Andrews, stage three restrictions are imminent.

At the time of print, under stage one and two restrictions now enforced, food courts, excluding takeaway outlets, join the list of hospitality businesses that must close their doors, along with caf├ęs and restaurants, unless they can provide a takeaway or home delivery services.

Real estate agents can now no longer host auctions, or open house inspections.

Auction houses can no longer operate, and markets, indoor and outdoor, will be a decision for each state and territory (food markets will continue to operate in all states and territories).

Personal services in premises, such as beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, tattoo parlours, spa and massage parlours (excluding health-related services, such as physiotherapy and allied health services) must also close.

Amusement parks, arcades, indoor and outdoor play centres, community and recreation centres, health clubs and fitness centres, yoga and barre classes, spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres have been advised to shut their doors.

Sporting clubs can no longer host social sport, defined as “large groups of people gathering to play sport in a community venue”.

The country’s galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites and libraries can no longer operate.

Community and youth centres, local government non-essential facilities, swimming pools, community halls, RSLs and Police Citizens Youth Clubs were also forced to close.

Strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues have closed, as have concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums and stadiums.

Live streaming of performances by small groups could be permissible, as long as social distancing is observed.

All campsites, campgrounds and caravan parks have closed in Victoria.

Entertainment venues, which closed on Monday, include clubs, nightclubs, casinos and licensed venues in hotels and pubs.

Gyms, indoor sporting venues, places of worship and cinemas also closed from noon on Monday.

New restrictions enforced from Wednesday mean weddings can still take place, but only with five people – the celebrant, the bride, the groom and two witnesses, who must all observe social distancing.

Funerals can also take place, but can only have fewer than 10 attendants, and must also observe social distancing.

Hairdressers and barbers can continue to operate, but must maintain four square metres per person.

Boot camps and personal training can continue to operate, but are limited to 10 people, and social distancing must be strictly enforced.

Shopping centres can remain open, but each of the retail premises must display a sign detailing how many people can be in the shop at any one time because of the four square metre rule.

During his announcement on Tuesday night following the national cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told people to stay at home, unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out.

Exercising with family (in a small number) or a partner, grocery shopping, seeking medical assistance is allowed.

People can go to work, where they cannot work from home. It is strongly encouraged to work from home where possible.

Visits to houses should be kept to a minimum “with very small numbers of guests”, he said.

“We don’t want to be overly specific about that, we want Australians to exercise their common sense.

“So that means barbecues of lots of friends or even family, extended family, coming together to celebrate one-year-old birthday parties and all these sorts of things – we can’t do those things now,” the Prime Minister said.

Even outdoors, people should not congregate together in groups. Groups will be moved on.

Authorities are considering whether they will make organising house parties an offence.

The Prime Minister hopes that if people follow social distancing measures, and the above restrictions, retail outlets will not need to close.

There will be a travel ban on all overseas travel, excluding international aid, compassionate travel, essential travel for employment.

Prime Minister Morrison said every extra bit of time allowed Australia to better prepare its health system and put measures in place to protect people’s lives.

“We will be living with this virus for at least six months, so social distancing measures to slow this virus down must be sustainable for at least that long to protect Australian lives, allow Australia to keep functioning and keep Australians in jobs,” he said

On Wednesday morning, the Premier said Victoria was currently grappling with a more imminent threat than most other states, with more cases than most.

At the time of print, New South Wales has the most cases in Australia with 1219, Victoria taking second place with 520.

“Because of this, we agreed states and territories will soon need to take individual measures – because this is moving at a different speed in different places,” he said, warning “there will also be a stage three”.

“We need more time to get our health system ready for what’s coming,” he said.

“We don’t take these actions lightly but to put it bluntly: if we don’t slow this thing down, we won’t just have people waiting in line for Centrelink – we’ll have people waiting in line for machines to help them breathe,” he said.

“I know this is stressful and I know this is scary. “The measures we already have in place are difficult, and these will be harder again.

“I want to reassure you that things like supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, post offices and bottle shops – and a number of other essential services – will be staying open.

“But I want to be very clear: the more people ignore the rules and ignore the advice – the more this virus will continue to spread.

“There is no social occasion or celebration that’s worth more than a human life.

“For Victorians that means if you can stay home, you must stay home.

“We are all being asked to make sacrifices. Because if we don’t, people will die.”

A full list of stage one and two restrictions is available at

Businesses seeking advice about whether they are affected can also phone the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15.