Victoria opens: What the ease of restrictions means for supply chain

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced Melbourne will move out of stage 4 lockdown from 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 October. The announcement will allow certain supply chain industries to return to 100 per workforce capacity following 15 weeks of restrictions.

Daniel Andrews announcement on the ease of stage 4 lockdown restrictions is intended to mark an end to Melbourne metro’s five month-battle with Australia’s second wave of coronavirus infection.

“Melbourne will move out of lockdown and into the Third Step,” Daniel Andrews said on Monday 26th October.

Under Metro Melbourne’s third step and further easing of restrictions from 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 October, retail and supply chain will expand their workforce capacity.

Open for business: Third step

As some restrictions change in metropolitan Melbourne, businesses can only open for on-site operations if they are a Permitted Work Premises.

From midnight on Tuesday, manufacturing, wholesale, medical, pharmaceutical and PPE supply will return to 100 per cent workforce capacity. Remaining retail will also open.

This follows the previous capacity increase to be the same with poultry, abattoirs, meat and seafood processing facilities.

Wholesale trade and warehousing industries are open with a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan in Metropolitan Melbourne, including displaying signs to show patron limits at the entrance of enclosed areas where limits apply and density quotient applied to shared spaces and publicly accessible places.

The density quotient The density quotient is four square metres per worker and is calculated by dividing the size of the room by four. For example, a room that is 20 square metres can have five workers.

It applies to each zone where workers operate or spend time, rather than the warehouse or facility as a whole. Examples include a pick/pack zone, loading bay and tearoom. In each of these zones, everyone who is in the zone will need at least four square metres of space (or relevant density quotient) around them to perform their task.

“For clarity, you should not simply divide the total facility size by the number of workers – it must be applied to the space around a worker where they perform a task,” Business Victoria states on its website.

For postal, supermarket and food distribution, workplaces must provide workers with a COVIDSafe induction and education program, apply density quotient and also ensure a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan is actioned.

Andrews said from 11:59pm Sunday, November 8, more restrictions would be lifted.

The 25-kilometre limit on travel will be axed, and the border between Melbourne and regional Victoria will be removed, allowing intrastate travel again.

Industry groups  welcomed the changes, which follow months of heavy restrictions on many Melbourne businesses.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra said there was a “sense of optimism” in the business community on Monday afternoon.

Workplaces will also no longer need to be on the permitted work list to open and the ability to work will change to “if you can work from home you must work from home”.

While the boundary is in place, work permits will still be required for workers from Melbourne travelling into regional Victoria – and vice versa.

“We want to reach COVID Normal by Christmas and right now, we’re on track to do that,” Daniel Andrews said on Monday.

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