Canberra – Tougher new measures have been announced in the COVID-19-ravaged Australian city of Melbourne, with retail businesses, shops, pubs, and hotels shut down amid rising coronavirus cases.
“All Victorians are required to work from home, except where this is not practicable,” state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday.
All retail business, pubs and hotels, as well as manufacturing, will stop operations from 11:59 pm (1359 GMT) on Wednesday for six weeks to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 community transmission, Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
“Retail will look very different than it has ever looked,” he said.
Only essential shops, like supermarkets, groceries, fuel suppliers, pharmacies and post offices, are to remain open. Some of the shops will be able to offer “click and collect” services or delivery.
Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, is Australia’s second-most populous city.
It has been hit by a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic since June.
Thirteen people died from coronavirus overnight, driving the state toll to 136 and the national toll to 221, Andrews announced, with 429 new cases of the disease, with a vast majority of them being in Melbourne.
On Sunday, a “state of disaster” was announced, along with a slew of strict six-week-long restrictions, including a night curfew from 8 pm to 5 am in Melbourne, with on-the-spot fine of 1,652 dollars (1,179 US dollars) for anyone breaching it.
Residents can also not travel more than 5 kilometres from home to shop for groceries or exercise.
The state parliament has been suspended.
All recreational activities and weddings have been banned.
While the use of face masks is compulsory, restrictions are in place until Sept. 13.