COVID-19 response: Which businesses can and can’t open

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GYMS, indoor sports centres, casinos, cinemas, nightclubs and entertainment venues of any kind in Australia must close from noon Monday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday clarified what businesses would be restricted in his state, and the list reflected the national measures announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday night.

In addition to the offerings listed above, pubs, bars and clubs that supply alcohol under a general licence, an on-premises licence or a club licence can't operate in Victoria from noon.

However, any part of those businesses constituted by a bottleshop may remain open.

A hotel, whether licensed or unlicensed, must close – except where it provides accommodation, takeaway meals, a meal delivery service or a bottleshop.

A place of worship can only open for a wedding or funeral.

Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway or meal delivery service.

In New South Wales, the changes are effectively the same.

Pubs, registered clubs, gyms, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and nightclubs will all have to close from noon.

Restaurants and cafes in NSW are also limited to takeaway and delivery.

Small weddings and funerals at places of worship must follow social distancing rules.

Mr Andrews also confirmed that school holidays at Victorian government schools would be brought forward to start on Tuesday.

He said Victoria Police had established a coronavirus enforcement squad of 500 officers to ensure COVID-19 measures would be followed.

So what remains open?

SOME businesses are still allowed to remain open. These include:

* Supermarkets

* Banks

* Petrol stations

* Chemists

* Convenience stores

* Bottle shops

* Post offices

* Shopping centres

* Hairdressers and beauticians

Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services has an "information for businesses" section on its coronavirus page for those seeking more information.

Business Victoria has a coronavirus business support page.

Why have these measures been introduced?

AUTHORITIES have become frustrated that pleas for Australians to practice social distancing have not been respected by all.

Mr Morrison said the weekend had shown such requests were "not being observed as well as they should be".

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said many young Australians were not getting the message.

"We now need to take action because we cannot have the confidence as a group of leaders that the social distancing guidelines and rules that we have put in place won't be followed to the level of compliance that we require to flatten the curve and slow the spread and save lives," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison described the measures as "stage one", with their status to be reviewed monthly.

But he said the expectation should be that such measures remain for at least six months.

What have Sunraysia leaders said?

MEMBER for Mallee Anne Webster said extreme measures were needed to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

"Clearly these are unprecedented times and not since the war has the government had to step in and impact people's daily lives in such a way, but I think it emphasises how serious this is and that our community must take it seriously," she said.

Member for Mildura Ali Cupper said the COVID-19 threat could not be taken lightly.

"The news out of Italy is that it is the worst crisis they have faced since World War 2," she said.

"We understand how disruptive this is going to be.

"We are Australians, we are used to having a high standard of living where we can pretty much do whatever we want, whenever we want.

"This is going to be painful for all of us but it's likely to be a lot less painful than the alternative which is the sheer number of deaths that would occur if we didn't try and curb this.

"We need to weigh any short-term inconvenience against any long-term consequences of failing to act, or failing to do everything that we can."

The shutdown comes with the Mallee electorate having three confirmed cases of COVID-19 with one in Gannawarra shire and one in Yarriambiack shire on Sunday added to one in Mildura announced on Saturday.

Sixty-seven new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Victoria on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to 296.

Ms Cupper said the confirmed cases showed why people could not be complacent.

"If we had been complacent a week ago, then the confirmation of cases in our region -- not just in Mildura, but in those other local government areas -- should definitely cause us to drop the complacency," she said.

Dr Webster said people needed to heed the medical advice.

"Now that we have three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Mallee electorate, there is an inevitability that it will spread, so we accept that, but it is the rate that it spread and manage that spread," she said.

"Each one of us needs to be highly alert and vigilant with regard to our hygiene and new social distancing requirements."

Dr Webster said she had been lobbying Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt for one of the 100 "pop-up" COVID-19 respiratory clinics to be established in Mildura.

"I can say I've been fighting hard and doing some pretty hard lobbying," she said.

"My understanding (announcing where the clinics would be) was meant to happen in the past couple of days so I would think it is imminent."