What SA’s border closure means for supply chain

Under the hard border closure, freight drivers are exempt from South Australia’s lockdown due to COVID-19. What does this mean for truck drivers and the local supply chain?

On Thursday November 19 South Australia commenced its six-day hard lockdown across the state.

All people in South Australia will be required to Stay at Home for the entire lockdown period from 12.01 am on Thursday 19 November until its end on 12:01 am on Wednesday 25 November 2020.

Permitted essential workers

According to the Government of South Australia’s official COVID-19 response website, a person  who performs work which is essential for the continued operation are exempted from stay at home orders.

This includes operations in local supply chain industries such as:

  • air transport (including airports)
  • distribution centre
  • factory or facility (only operations which would otherwise cause damage to the plant and equipment)
  • freight services (including postal and courier services)
  • National Heavy Vehicle Regulator compliance activities
  • primary industries (only to ensure adequate supply of food and care of crops and animals)
  • production and distribution of food for sale by supermarket/butcher/fruit/vegetable store/fishmonger other than production at a red meat abattoir, liquor sales at a bottle shop and medical and pharmaceutical products
  • supermarket, butcher, fruit and vegetable store or fishmonge

VIC closed to SA, Testing offered to truck drivers

Premier Daniel Andrews announced a hard border closure with Victoria and South Australia from 11.59 Thursday 19 November.

Under the hard border, only freight drivers will be allowed into Victoria.

Dan confirmed all truck drivers coming from South Australia will be asked to get tested. A new testing site has been set up in Nhill in western Victoria, and more will be established along major freight routes.

“There are some legal complexities about whether we can compel a test … but I’d be very confident that everybody we ask to get tested will agree to that,” he said during a press conference on Thursday.

He said the State Government is working with the industry to ensure that freight continues to move, but do it in the safest way possible.

The Transport Workers’ Union has welcomed an exemption for truck drivers as the Victorian border with SA closes from midnight on Thursday.

“We do not want to see a repeat of the difficulties truck drivers experienced when they entered NSW from Victoria a few months ago after the border shut. Confusion and delays on the border can have massive effects on supply chains,” TWU Victorian Tasmanian Branch Secretary John Berger said.

“We urge the Victorian Government to immediately provide much needed information to truck drivers. Information must include details about testing wait times, drivers ability to continue work while awaiting test results and assurances around traffic flow management.”

TWU SA/NT Branch Secretary Ian Smith said the union would be monitoring the situation.

“Truck drivers are performing a critical service at this time, getting supplies of food, fuel and medicines across borders. They need protections and supports. We urge state authorities to ensure exemptions remain in place so that drivers can access truck stops with showers, hot meals and rest areas,” he said.

Woolworths and Coles introduce product limits at supermarkets and ramps up online deliveries.

Woolworths will reinstate purchase limits on a wide range of product categories including toilet paper, meat, frozen and canned food in South Australia both in-store and online from Thursday 19 November.

The move follows an increase in demand for products across South Australian stores and the South Australian government’s announcement of new COVID-19 restrictions.

Woolworths is working to ramp up extra online delivery capacity for customers.

“As an essential service, our supermarkets will remain open to support our customers’ food and grocery needs. We have plenty of stock, which will continue to flow to stores from our distribution centres,” Woolworths Supermarkets South Australian General Manager, Karl Weber said.

Coles is also implementing temporary purchase limits for our South Australian stores to help us manage demand for key staple items. A two pack per customer limit is now in place at all Coles supermarkets and Coles Express stores in South Australia, as well as Coles Online Orders for SA customers.

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