Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – From the CEO desk.

To: CCF Victoria staff, members and stakeholders.

Good afternoon.

By now all of you would have heard, or seen, the Premier’s announcement this afternoon regarding the introduction of Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions across the state of Victoria wef 11.59pm tonight, Friday 12 February; until 11.59pm Wednesday, 16 February 2021. Refer the following link to the Statement by the Premier.

Clearly, this is a decision that has not been made lightly but is based on the advice given to the Government by the Chief Health Officer and as a result of the recent community breakout of the highly contagious UK strain of the COVID-19 virus. 

What does this mean for you and our community?

For the next 5 day period, the following restrictions will apply for you and the broader community right across the state from Friday 12 February 11.59pm to Wednesday 17 February 11.59pm as per the attached table of restrictions which can be summarised as follows:

Leave home/going outStay at home unless shopping for food/essentials, caregiving or compassionate reasons, essential work or permitted education, exercise (two hours).
TravelCannot go beyond 5km from primary residence for permitted reasons.
MasksMust be worn at all times except in the home
Outdoor public gatheringsNot permitted
VisitorsNot permitted (intimate partners allowed)
Childcare and early educationOpen
SchoolsClosed except to vulnerable children or children of essential workers
Adult educationClosed – remote learning only.
WorkWork from home if you can
Hospitality – restaurants, cafes, bars, pubsClosed except for takeaway
Play centres, indoor skateparks, indoor trampolining centresClosed
General retailClosed
Beauty salons/treatments/personal careClosed
Real estate – inspections, auctionsOnline only
Supermarkets/shopping limitsOpen – shopping one person per household, once per day. Support person can accompany where required.
Outdoor physical recreation & sportClosed
Swimming pools, hydrotherapy pools, spas, saunas, steam rooms, springsClosed
ExerciseTwo hours a day only, with a household, intimate partner or one other person
Outdoor playgroundsOpen
Community FacilitiesClosed
Creative StudiosClosed
WeddingsNot permitted unless end of life or other exceptional circumstances
FuneralsNo more than 10 people
Religion/places of worshipNo in-person gatherings. Broadcasts allowed.
Entertainment venuesClosed. Professional athletes defined as essential workers – professional sporting events can go ahead without spectators.
Care Facilities VisitorsNot permitted except for end of life
Hospital VisitorsNot permitted except for end of life, support partner for birth or parent accompanying child
Australian OpenPermitted without spectators.

What does this 5 day mean for work in Building & Construction Industry?

A special meeting of the Building & Construction (B&C) Industry Working Group was convened late this afternoon following the Premier’s announcement to gain further clarity what the announcement means for the various sectors operating in the B&C industry. A further session is set for later this evening and I have sought clarification on whether the permit system is being re-introduced but the instructions at this time if for the 5 day lockdown period, the permit system will not be re-introduced.  I will confirm in my next update.

Key messages from this afternoon briefing session conducted by DJPR can be summarised as follows:

  • Restrictions will be the same as Stage 4 in terms of “how we live”;
  • However, the expectation is that all industries (except essential services) will cease to operate for 5 days
  • BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION SITES ARE TO CLOSE …. except for essential projects and where safety, health or well-being of the community could be compromised.  The attached “table of restrictions” which was included in the Premier’s statement this afternoon, includes the following groups categorised as “Essential Workers” and critical infrastructure works:

e. essential infrastructure and essential services without which the safety, health or welfare of the community would be endangered or seriously prejudiced

q. Mining building or construction services for critical infrastructure work, which includes for the avoidance of doubt, road construction services

So unless your project or works fits either of these two categories, you are instructed to shut down for 5 days.  I expect that allowances would be made for time to make the job safe, where necessary.  It is envisaged that the former permit system under stage 4 will not be introduced for the circuit breaker period  

What about Training?

All higher education has closed.  CCF has postponed all its scheduled and on-site training set for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Courses scheduled for delivery next Thursday and Friday (2 day Trenching & Shoring, and Confined Space) are scheduled to continue and this will be reviewed as Government announcements are made.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact our Training & Operations team on 1300 DIAL CCF.

In brief …

There is a positive view being expressed that the measures being introduced by Government is “short term.” We must all “play our part” and if we address this now – we can look to re-open for business on Thursday, 17 February.  This will be subject to further announcement by the Government.

COVIDSafe plans won’t be updated given the short nature of the lockdown but industry directions will continue to be updated over the weekend.  While I will continue to keep CCF members, staff and key stakeholders abreast of developments over the weekend I encourage you to regularly check the Government website on Coronavirus sector guidelines for regular updates.

I also appreciate that it is 5pm on a Friday … we are all coming to grips with the announcement and what this means for me.  I am happy to take calls from CCF members either this evening, or over the weekend, should you seek clarification on the instructions being issued by Government.  My mobile number is in my email signatory below and your patience would be appreciated if I do not answer your call directly.

Until my next update …. keep well – keep safe.

Kind regards,