The Victorian government is developing a plan for re-opening the state
31.08.2020

The Victorian government is developing a plan for re-opening the state

Words by Kate Streader

Premier Dan Andrews will reveal his government’s roadmap to reopening Victoria this Sunday.

The Victorian government is consulting with a range of health experts, industries, unions and community organisations to develop a ‘COVID Normal’ roadmap for easing restrictions across the state, announced Premier Dan Andrews this morning. The plan will be revealed on Sunday September 6.

The plan aims to provide clarity and certainty for Victorians and will outline how businesses and workplaces operate across all industries post-lockdown.

Andrews revealed that workplaces across all industries can expect to implement measures such as physical distancing, including limiting the total number of staff and customers in enclosed areas and ensuring staff work from home wherever possible; making sure staff wear a face covering at all times in the workplace; introducing hygiene standards in which high-touch points are regularly cleaned, staff wash their hands regularly and hand sanitizer is available for staff and customers; and enforcing a strict policy for staff to stay home and get tested if they become unwell, even with mild symptoms.

The plan will also involve ‘workforce bubbles’ in which prolonged and close contact between staff members is limited. The government are also looking at options such as moving lunch breaks and meetings outside.

It is likely that restaurants, cafes and bars will be required to move to al fresco seating where possible to reduce the number of patrons in enclosed spaces.

The Andrews government will spend this week gaining insight and feedback from industries in order to form a plan for reopening Victoria which will be finalised by the government and health experts. They’ll also consult with community support organisations to gather information relating to the impacts of social isolation.

“We know every Victorian wants certainty about the future – for them, for their family and for their work. By the end of the week, we will lay out a plan to re-open our state,” said Andrews.

“Workplaces will need to look very different as we find our ‘COVID Normal’. By working with business we’ll make sure that can happen practically and safely,” he added. 

Andrews also made it clear that the ‘COVID Normal’ plan will remain in place for many months in order to avoid a third wave but that it will be a “substantially different framework” to previous lockdowns.

Melbourne’s six-week stage four lockdown period is due to end on Sunday September 13 and while the government is working on a plan for easing restrictions across the state, Andrews said he can’t rule out the possibility of extending the stage four restrictions at that time and that the next steps will be guided by the data.

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