What does Victoria’s lock down mean for food and bev?

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced several changes to the manufacturing sector in Victoria. Non-essential manufacturing will be hardest hit, however for the food and beverage sector, it is pretty much business as usual with one main exception. In a statement released today, Andrews stated that while emergency measures are in place, some industries are too important to close down. And while they may stay in operation, there will be some restrictions. “Whether it’s our food production, waste collection or supply chain logistics we need some things to continue — but they’ve got do so safely,” he said.

All open businesses and services will have until 11:59pm Friday 7 August to enact a COVIDSafe plan focused on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace.

“In industries that can’t close, but where we’ve seen a number of cases or emerging new risks, we’ll be making some big changes to make these workplaces safer — for workers and for their families,” he said. “That includes mandated reductions to the number of workers onsite. In the meat industry — and based on the minimum required to operate safely onsite — the workforce will be scaled back to two-thirds. Unlike other changes, and recognising the risk these sites have posed here and around the world, this will apply to abattoirs in Melbourne and across the state.”

Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, and post offices will continue to remain open for business under Victoria’s stage 4 lockdown restrictions that covers metropolitan Melbourne run from Sunday 2 August and will last for six weeks until Sunday 13 September.

Advice from the Department of Health and Human Services recognises the importance of public transport and freight and logistics as essential services to the Victorian community.

“The Department is also working closely with the ports, freight and logistics sector as an essential service to make sure essential supplies get to where they need to go,” The Victorian Department of Transport said in a statement.

Heavy vehicles are able to pass time-based curfew “no trucks” signs when they are making deliveries of food or personal hygiene products to retail outlets for six months. Heavy vehicles can also remain in loading zones for the time required to make these deliveries.

Industry operators are asked to ensure adhere to the health and safety protocols to protect their workforces and the public.

There are also changes to supply chain industries under the state’s stage four restrictions. Warehouse and distribution centres in Melbourne will have to reduce their workforce, be kitted out in full PPE and subject to routine COVID-19 testing. Warehousing and distribution centres in Melbourne will be limited to no more than two-thirds the normal workforce allowed onsite at any one time.


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