Click here to see the latest updates from the Victorian government regarding restrictions applicable to construction, retail and service businesses.
The Victorian Government has announced which workplaces will be open and closed during the impending shutdown.
In an attempt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus , the Premier Daniel Andrews has announced tough new restrictions for at least six more weeks. In concert with the lockdown, the Federal Government is offering a disaster payment for workers who need to isolate but have exhausted their sick leave or have no remaining entitlements.
The shutdown will affect the following segments of the swimming pool and spa industry:
Pool Shops & Service Technicians
All retail stores closed by midnight Wednesday 5 August. Stores are permitted to operate contactless “click and collect” and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place. At this stage, only pool stores are permitted to operate contactless “click and collect” and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place. Clarity about servicing and maintaining sanitation pool and spa equipment is vague. SPASA Australia is seeking more information to clarify the vagaries. Meanwhile, they have produced an interpretation of how the industry will be affected by the restrictions which can help clarify some questions.
Manufacturing and Supply
Hardware and supply stores can remain open onsite, but for tradespeople only.
Pool & Spa Builders
Major construction sites must have no more than 25 per cent of the normal workforce onsite. Small scale construction will be limited to a maximum of five people onsite. Businesses on both major and small-scale construction site must demonstrate not blending shifts and workers can only work at one site during stage 4.
However, the Department of Justice and Community Safety says:
Each employer must determine who will be authorised to issue their employees a worker permit.
For an employer with multiple work sites, they may decide to designate an authorised person at each work site.
Employers should minimise any requirement for employees to work at different sites.
An employee working at more than one site must keep a log of the places visited including date, time and place of attendance.
All open businesses and services will have until 11.59pm Friday 7 August to enact a Covid-safe plan focussed on safety, prevention and a response in the event that the virus is linked to the workplace.
SPASA Australia CEO Lindsay McGrath says they will continue to monitor the situation and provide industry updates as they become available.
“We will continue to lobby government on our industry’s behalf to ensure the authorities are aware of the essential nature of the services we provide the community,” he says.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government is offering $1500 as an assistance payment to help workers who have exhausted, or do not have, sick leave and have been directed to stay at home by a public health official.
“This pandemic is a disaster. And we need a disaster payment when it comes for people who have to isolate for a period of 14 days through no fault of their own, regardless of what job they’re in or employment they’re in — they need that support,” says Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Those already receiving JobSeeker are already getting income support. Those already getting JobKeeper are already receiving income support if they’re in those circumstances. So what we’ll be putting in place is, for those who have no more sick leave available to them, that they will be eligible for a $1,500 payment for the fortnight.”
He says the payment will be modelled on the same criteria the Victorian Government has put in place.
“They will principally be made to those on short-term visas, those who are not permanent residents or citizens of Australia who otherwise wouldn’t have accessed Commonwealth payments. The Victorian Government will continue to provide that support. We will make sure that everyone else who finds themselves in this situation where they don’t have that leave available to them through their sick leave because it’s been exhausted will get a $1,500 payment for that fortnight.”
The extra payment will be there for as long as the Victorian Government thinks it’s necessary. Scott Morrison says people will be able to access the payment more than once, if they need to self-isolate more than once.
Additionally, the Victorian Government announced additional relief of up to $10,000.
To support businesses impacted by these restrictions, one-off grants will be made available to eligible businesses under the Business Support Fund – Expansion program:
• $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of spending longer under restrictions
• $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)
Businesses which have already received a Business Support Fund – Expansion grant, or have applied for one, will not need to re-apply. Successful applicants will automatically receive this additional allocation.
Applications for the program will be extended until 14 September 2020.