Some industries in Melbourne are set to come to a grinding halt this week as Premier Daniel Andrews implements further lockdown restrictions to fight Victoria's devastating COVID-19 outbreak.
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced all non-essential retailers and some construction sites in Melbourne will close under new restrictions, but regional Victoria will avoid the harshest restrictions.
At this stage the enforced stage four restrictions do not extend to Ballarat.
Abattoirs are the only regional industry to fall under stage four lockdowns.
Regional business in Ballarat that have been forced to close this week under stage three restrictions will also be able to apply for a $5000 grant.
In regional Victoria, abattoirs will be limited to no more than two-thirds of their normal staffing levels. Staff will be kitted out in full PPE and subject to routine testing.
It comes as 429 new cases of COVID-19 were detected in the last 24 hours, and 13 people died.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the mass shutdown of businesses in Melbourne would last for six weeks.
OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS
He said in Melbourne only residential construction that is already underway will be able to continue as well as construction of critical infrastructure and infrastructure connected to essential services.
Under the new classification, the majority of Melbourne retailers will have to close. Supermarkets, grocery stores, service stations, pharmacies and post offices are among the exempt businesses.
Restrictions are so tight that only tradespeople will be able to visit hardware stores such as Bunnings.
Onsite operations in retail, some manufacturing and administration will close during the the next six weeks in metropolitan Melbourne. This applies from 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Watch Daniel Andrews' press conference here.
Under the stage four restrictions retail stores will be allowed to run contactless click and collect and delivery services.
Hardware stores will remain open for tradespeople only, in metropolitan Melbourne.
Industries such as food production will continue to operate, with strict safety measures in place.
Special exemption to operate has to be sought from the Victorian chief health officer.
The full list of Melbourne's stage four lockdowns can be read here.
"As heartbreaking as it is to close down places of employment, while I never thought that I would be telling people not to go to work, that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious virus, this deadly virus," said Mr Andrews.
Mr Andrews also warned against panic-buying, as all supermarkets and basic food stores would remain open.
"There's no need for people to be buying months of groceries...those setting will not close," he said.
"We will have everything people need. Whether every single item will be available, I can't guarantee that. But you will have everything you need."
The highly-anticipated press conference was not held until about 3.30pm today, hours later than unusual.
It came as it was confirmed there were 429 new cases found in the past 24 hours and an equal high 13 deaths.
There are 6489 active cases statewide and 386 regionally.
In Ballarat, there are 11 active cases.
There are now 15 active in Moorabool, 10 in Golden Plains, two in Hepburn and one in Pyrenees.
The Courier has removed the paywall from our stories relating to health warnings and safety of the community in regards to the coronavirus. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.