Premier Daniel Andrews announced today that he will inform National Cabinet tonight “that Victoria will proceed over the next 48 hours to implement a shutdown of all non-essential activity across our state to combat the spread of Coronavirus.”
Mr Andrews added that his is not something that the Government will do lightly, “but it’s clear that if we don’t take this step, more Victorians will contract coronavirus, our hospitals will be overwhelmed and more Victorians will die”.
Victorians will still be able to go to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy and other essential stores, like petrol stations and convenience stores, according to the Premier’s announcement.
Freight, logisitics and home delivery are also considered essential and will remain open.
“I will also inform National Cabinet that school holidays will be brought forward in Victoria, starting on Tuesday 24 March. All measures to be implemented by Victoria are consistent with the health advice provided by the Victorian Chief Health Officer. The decision whether to re-open schools after the Term 1 holidays will likewise be determined following advice from the Chief Health Officer. I will have more to say on these measures tomorrow morning,” the announcement continued.
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would “update NSW tomorrow morning about the impacts and our plans following the National Cabinet”.
NSW has moved past 500 confirmed cases of coronavirus, reaching 533 as of 8:00pm on Saturday, while the Victorian tally now sits at 296.
Neither statement gave examples of which services would be considered non-essential, but previous Federal Government advice pertaining to “non-essential indoor gatherings” included restaurants, pubs, cafes, cinemas, weddings and funerals.
What was made clear is that both states will be pushing for harser measures in order to tackle the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.