Victorian businesses brace for new coronavirus restrictions


“There’ll be some (industries) that can continue, there’ll be some that will have to reduce the amount of work they do, the amount of output, therefore the amount of workers and therefore the amount of risk.”

“There’s a lot of national issues at play here as well, because obviously we have the biggest container port in the country. What gets turned off here will have a direct impact right across the nation, and indeed right across the region and the world when it comes to issues of export,” he said.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the tougher restrictions would have a devastating impact on businesses and jobs, but acknowledged they were needed to stop the spread of the virus.

“This is a very tough day for Victoria. Stage 4 will mean the end for many businesses, with thousands more jobs set to be lost,” said chief executive Paul Guerra.

Meanwhile, Woolworths said it had reinstated a purchase limit of two items per customer on at least 50 product categories in Victoria.

The limits apply to products including toilet paper, paper towel, tissues and baby wipes and foods including rice, flour, sugar, pasta, pasta sauce, dairy milk, eggs and sausages.

Shoppers will be able to buy two packs of meat types including pork, lamb, beef and chicken. But Woolworths confirmed customers will be able to buy two packs of pork, as well as two packs of other meat types.

“We understand this is an anxious time for our Victorian customers, but we encourage everyone to continue shopping as they usually would and only buy what they need,” said Woolworths Supermarkets managing director Claire Peters.

There’s a lot of national issues at play here as well, because obviously we have the biggest container port in the country.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

“Stock will continue to flow from our distribution centres and as an essential service, Woolworths supermarkets remain open to support customers’ food and grocery needs,” she said.

In a statement Aldi said it did not have any product restrictions in place, but was monitoring the situation closely.

The news of further restrictions for businesses came as Mr Andrews announced a historic daily curfew across Melbourne from 8pm to 5am, unveiled stage four restrictions, declared a state of disaster and announced 671 new COVID-19 cases.

Celia Spykers said she waited in a queue for more than half an hour to get to the cash registers at a Gisborne Coles supermarket on Sunday.

She said the store had no eggs left, and there was “very little meat”. “I’ve never seen it like that and I’ve been around Gisborne for around seven years,” she said.

Ms Spykers said it wasn’t unusual that the car park was full, but after she had got a small amount of groceries she had to join a queue that ended at the back of the store.


“I laughed it off and took a photo and it took me 35 minutes to get from the side of the fridges to one deep at a register.”

Inside, “there was no panicking or racing or raised voices. It was all very courteous and everyone took it in their stride”.

Trolleys were full but it didn’t look like people were buying excessive numbers of specific items.

She said staff directed trolleys into registers to keep aisles clear. “The staff were amazing, they were working as fast as they could and being extremely helpful.

“An older lady came up with a basket and she was let in the line rather than told to go all the way to the back,” she said.

Ms Spykers said the increase in customers was a response to rumours of stricter restrictions being brought in.

Darren is the mining and agribusiness reporter for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Carolyn Webb is a reporter for The Age.

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