Business rides rollercoaster of emotions as restrictions finally ease

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

There is finally good news for Melbourne businesses and employees this afternoon. After months locked down under some of the world’s toughest restrictions, Premier Andrews announced retail, beauty and hospitality can get back to work from 11.59pm Tuesday.

Victoria recorded zero deaths and zero new COVID-19 cases today, taking Melbourne’s 14-day average to 3.6, well below the cautious target of five to proceed to the next step in the Government’s roadmap. The Premier also confirmed that the test results from the northern suburbs outbreak show it is under control.

Crucially, the ‘ring of steel’ border between metropolitan and regional Victoria will also be removed at 11.59pm on 8 November which means that metropolitan Melbourne will have the same restrictions as regional Victoria has currently. That will see gyms, tourism facilities, hotels and events resume restricted operations and there will be no requirement for worker permits from that date. Removing the ‘ring of steel’ will also allow Melburnians to get out into Victoria’s regions, providing a much-needed break for families and an injection of cash into regional communities.

Density limits of ten people per space for indoor dining will apply with a maximum of 20 indoors and 50 outside from 11.59pm Tuesday, 27 October. From 8 November, we will move to density limits of 20 people per space for indoor dining to a maximum of 40 people to bring metropolitan Melbourne in line with regional Victoria.

To be attributed to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra:

“The Government has clearly listened to the pleas from business. There is a sense of optimism this afternoon as the whole of Victoria can finally get back to work.

“Hospitality, beauty and retail business owners are delighted, and although there are some restrictions on hospitality, it’s only a short wait until those limits will be increased. The news that we will become one Victoria again from 8 November will give comfort to so many Victorians and that date can’t come quick enough!

“We must acknowledge the hard work, sacrifices and compromises that got us here and ensure business has confidence and certainty going forward. We need to learn to live and work safely alongside the virus.

“As we take this next step, the State Government must trust business to operate in a COVID safe way just as Victorians need to have faith in the Government’s contact tracing system and the ability of our health officials to respond to isolated outbreaks.”

/Public Release.