“As heartbreaking as it is to close down places of employment, that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious virus, this deadly virus,” Andrews said in a press conference this afternoon.
The first category of industries which will remain open in Melbourne include: supermarkets; grocery stores; butchers; bakeries; bottle shops; pharmacies; petrol stations; banks; news agencies; post offices; and all sectors involved in the frontline response to the pandemic.
From 11:59 pm this Wednesday, retail, some manufacturing and some admin will close, the premier said.
Retail stores will be able to continue operating contactless “click and collect” and delivery services with strict protocols in place, and hardware stores can continue to operate, but for tradespeople only.
The third category of businesses will be allowed to stay open, but will have to change the way they operate from midnight Friday.
Meat works will move to two-thirds production, while employees will be dressed in full PPE including gowns and face shields, will have their temperature checked and will be tested.
Construction will be divided into three parts: large scale government projects have been reduced by half already and there will be plans to reduce the workforce more; very large commercial building companies will need to reduce their workforce down to the practical minimum, and can have no more than 25 per cent of their workforce working; and residential construction will be restricted to five people per site.
Andrews said there will be COVIDSafe plans for all workplaces, including measures such as temperature testing and PPE.
“All of that will be challenging and very difficult but it is what is necessary,” he said.
“They are the decisions that will keep us safe and drive down case numbers so that at the end of six weeks, we have every chance of having got this back under control.”
Andrews said some public transport services will run for those still going to work, but timetables will be significantly reduced.
Businesses that are forced to close such as restaurants, cafes, beauty salons and gyms, and all of those in regional Victoria as part of Stage 3 restrictions, will be eligible for a $5000 grant from the Victorian government.
“In terms of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, you will be aware that we are currently in the process of paying out literally thousands of $5000 grants,” Andrews said.
“I can announce today will add a further $5000 to those grants, acknowledging that they will have been under these restrictions now for a period significantly longer than the first six weeks as foreshadowed.”
The new restrictions will see another 250,000 people stood down and a further 500,000 people working from home.
Around 250,000 people were already stood down at the start of the pandemic.
The premier said these were difficult but necessary decisions.
“This is a very tough day, and there are many more of those to come before we get to the other side of this,” he said.
“But these are the decisions that have to be made, that is why I have made them.
“We have a clear strategy. It will only work if everybody plays their part and I am deeply grateful to every Victorian who is.”
It comes as Victoria has recorded 429 new cases of coronavirus since Sunday and 13 further deaths.
There are 6489 infections currently active in Victoria.
There are 416 Victorians in hospital with coronavirus, including 35 people in intensive care.