Victoria stadia among 70 COVID exposure sites

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Australia Victoria Government announces 7 days lockdown Image: Populous

A seven-day snap lockdown has been declared in Victoria (Australia) as the State’s COVID-19 outbreak grows. This is the fourth lockdown imposed in Victoria since coronavirus spelt doom on the world in March 2020.

The seven-day circuit breaker lockdown was announced on May 28th, 2021 over a highly infectious virus strain. The State was dealing with a “highly infectious strain of the virus” which was spreading faster than ever recorded.

The Deputy Premier of Victoria, James Merlino, who announced the “circuit-breaker” lockdown, also informed that the State’s fourth lockdown will remain in place until 11.59 pm of June 3rd.

The ‘Australasian Leisure Management’ stated that the 1,00,024-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the 53,359-capacity Marvel Stadium featured among the more than 70 exposure sites.

The latest announcement will further impact a range of leisure industry sectors which have already bore the brunt of three previous lockdowns.

The ‘Australasian Leisure Management’ further stated that a new report from Victoria University and Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) shows that the impact of bushfires followed by COVID-19 wiped $19.5 billion in visitor spending from the Victorian economy in 2020.

The report found that two-thirds of businesses lost between 75 percent and 100 percent of their income and that business insurance has risen by up to 400 percent in bushfire-affected areas, making it unaffordable for many.

Lead researcher Dr. Joanne Pyke, Director of the School for the Visitor Economy at Victoria University, said the majority of those hit by the double whammy were struggling.

Dr. Pyke advised, “The industry is depleted emotionally, financially and physically. At the same time, they need to quickly rebuild their businesses, often without the finances, support and workforce that they need to do so.”

Victoria Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani, said the State must lead the way in implementing strategies to address current vulnerabilities in the tourism system and increase resilience to future crises – “Our sector is not just scrambling to recover from the double crises of the past year, we’re also looking to build resilience and plan for a next inevitable crisis. The sector had already been facing a challenge in attracting enough skilled seasonal workers and COVID has amplified that problem by cutting off our overseas supply of backpackers, students and other workers. This shortage of staff resource is definitely hampering the sector’s ability and pace to recover.”

Dr. Pyke maintained that Governments needed to implement targeted strategies to support industry in recovery, as many measures had not been helpful in the Victorian context, adding, “Funding cheap airfares to take tourists to other States has had a negative impact on tourism recovery in Victoria, which relies heavily on people traveling within the State to fill the overseas tourist shortfall. But, possibly one of the most significant issues is the dramatic increase in business insurance cost in bushfire areas. Businesses can’t plan for the next crisis or build resilience if they are not assured of the ability to be able to fund their recovery after a disaster.”

However, Merlino said the Government was still open to ending the lockdown earlier if possible, saying, “If we can end it sooner, we will.”

Merlino said no one wanted to be in lockdown, but there was no other choice – “No one wants to be in this position, but I think the community also understands that we’ve got to follow public health advice. We’ve seen overseas what happens if this thing gets away. We must follow public health advice. My view is that as tough as this is for everyone, I think people appreciate that we just got to do this.”

The public health advice given was that a Statewide lockdown was needed, rather than it being limited to metropolitan Melbourne.

Govt directives:

The Victoria Government has introduced new changes to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people leaving their homes and moving around Victoria.

‘VIC.GOV.AU’ stated that apart from the following reasons, he or she cannot leave their home except for the following five reasons:

  • Shopping for necessary goods and services;
  • Care and caregiving, or to get a COVID-19 test exercise;
  • Authorised work and permitted study; and
  • To get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Victorians may also leave home to visit their intimate partner, their single social bubble buddy, or in an emergency – including those at risk of family violence.

Wearing of masks has been made mandatory.

Sporting events

‘VIC.GOV.AU’ further stated that approved professional sporting events will go ahead without crowds. Community sport is not permitted.

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