Almost all retail stores in Melbourne including Bunnings and Kmart are set to close their shop floors to customers for the next six weeks, under Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions announced on Monday, August 3rd.
Under new Stage Four coronavirus restrictions announced by Premier Daniel Andrews, most retail will shut down or move to delivery and click & collect only.
Exemptions have been granted to supermarkets, grocery, food and liquor shops; convenience stores; petrol stations; pharmacies; post offices, and a few other limited businesses.
Though many food outlets will still be able to sell takeaway or delivery items, restrictions around meat and meat product processing and distribution centres will fall under new measures, with KFC already confirming that some of its stores will close.
The changes came as Victoria recorded 429 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, giving the state a total of 11,937. The new restrictions will come into place at midnight on Wednesday.
Andrews pleaded with Melbournians not to use the new restrictions as an excuse to start panic-buying. “I understand that there is a sense of concern in the community,” he said.
“You may not be able to buy every single item that you want in the quantities you normally would, but people will have everything they need,” he said.
“Supermarkets as well as grocery stores, the local fruit and veg, the local butcher, the baker, all of those shops, they will remain open.”
“We have to do something that is very painful, but will drive these numbers down and drive them down as quickly as possible,” said Andrews. “Retail will look very different than it’s looked.”
The latest restrictions come just a few short days after mask-wearing became compulsory for all Victorians, including those in regional areas.
Over the weekend, a curfew came into place for all Melbourne residents between 8pm and 5am. Outside of those hours, you can only leave your house for four reasons; shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise and work.
In addition, employers must support working from home where possible. Anyone found to be breaching the lockdown regulations can be subject to a $1652 on-the-spot fine.
Following the announcement, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said her state may increase restrictions over travel between the two states, with nearly one-third of new cases confirmed in NSW on Monday in cases of people entering from Victoria.
As of 5 pm on Monday, 17 new cases had been reported with five of those infections acquired across the border.
“We are considering the situation with returning people from Victoria,” said Berejiklian.