Virus crisis / Barr confirms ‘non-essential’ services

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THE Mitchell Traders Association has been inundated with enquiries from traders worried about what the Chief Minister Andrew Barr meant when he announced yesterday the “ACT will proceed to a more comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services over the next 48 hours”.

Last night (March 22) Prime Minister Scott Morrison closed pubs and clubs as well as cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gyms, indoor sporting venues, churches and places of worship from midday today. Cafes and restaurants would only be open for takeaway.

Mr Barr went on to say: “We will ensure that Canberrans continue to have access to the services they need – supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, pharmacies, post offices and convenience stores.

“Freight and logistics will also be considered as an essential service. Over the next 48 hours, we will define these essential services and work closely with retailers on their requirements.”

This morning the Chief Minister confirmed that the “non-essential” services closing from today are all those detailed by the PM.

“This reflects the decision made at national cabinet on non-essential service closures and maintains consistency with the NSW approach,” he said.

“The ACT supports the national cabinet model, and we agree that a level of consistency across jurisdictions will allow the national cabinet to provide the most effective public health message to Australians.

“However, this is a constantly evolving situation. Within the National Cabinet framework, states and territories will occasionally need to make decisions based on their own local circumstances.”

According to Mr Barr non-essential services shut down in the ACT, at this stage, include:

  • Pubs and registered clubs
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings & places of worship (excluding small weddings and funerals that comply with the 4m2 rules)

“Any businesses and places of work that do not fall in this list may continue at this point,” he said.

“However, just because certain industries and businesses can currently continue operation, it does not mean it is business as usual.

“Physical distancing measures and frequent hand washing must be strongly encouraged across all workplaces and business owners must take necessary measures to ensure their employees are closely following these measures.

“Any business that can transition to virtual work arrangements should start that process as soon as possible.”

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