After James Merlino, Victoria’s acting premier, confirmed an extension to the state’s restrictions until 11.59pm on Thursday, June 10, 2021, Crown Resorts’ Melbourne business operations would remain closed for another week.
This comes as the company continues to be chastised for its shortcomings in responsible gambling, with media outlets claiming that a Royal Commission probe has been warned that players in the company’s land-based venues might be left unsupervised for at least 12 hours. It was also reported that one employee at the Melbourne location played for nearly 34 hours straight before being forced to take a break.
Recommendation from the public health
Victoria’s latest lockdown comes after a local outbreak of 12 new cases in a 24-hour period last week, bringing the total number of active cases to 34, and subsequent recommendation from the public health team to impose restrictions.
There are now 69 current cases and more than 350 exposure sites in the area, with Merlino warning that the virus variation in question, officially known as Kappa by the WHO, is “quicker and more contagious than we’ve seen before.”
In a statement Merlino said: “I’ll say from the outset, this won’t be what everyone hoped for – but these are the responsible and proportional adjustments we can make now, while continuing to keep our regional communities safe.”
People in Melbourne, the state capital, can only leave the house to purchase for food and supplies, or for authorised employment and education, care and caregiving, exercise, and vaccinations. With an enlarged 10km radius (up from 5km), people will be able to travel further for exercise and shopping.
Masks are still required to be worn both indoors and outdoors, although in-person schooling has been expanded to include students in grades 11 and 12, and a number of new outdoor vocations have been added to the list of approved activities.
Outside of Melbourne, where it is planned that a gradual relaxation of limitations would begin next week, regional limitations will begin to ease today as a result of “no community transmission in regional Victoria this week.”
Travel restrictions and the aforementioned five reasons will be lifted; all year levels will return to face-to-face schooling; public gatherings will be increased to ten people; restaurants and cafés will be allowed to reopen to a maximum of 50 people; retail, beauty and personal care, entertainment venues, and community facilities will also reopen within capacity limits; and offices will be capped at 50 percent.
Visitors to the residence, on the other hand, are still not permitted, and masks must be worn inside. Melburnians will be able to travel in provincial Victoria, but regional Victorians will not.
Gaming, food and beverage, retail, banqueting, and conference facilities at the Crown Melbourne facility will all be suspended, except for the provision of takeaway meals or meal delivery services. For permitted reasons, hotel accommodations will continue to be supplied.
Crown said it will continue to financially support employees and will “work closely with the government and health authorities in Victoria, and will respond to measure taken in relation to COVID-19.”
Merlino continued: “No one wants to be here. And I know this news is tough for every Victorian, every family and every business in this state. But the chief health officer has no choice but to give this advice. And the government has no choice but to follow it.
“If we don’t, this thing will get away from us and people will die. No one wants to repeat last winter. To stop that from happening, we need every Victorian to follow the rules, to get tested and to get vaccinated when it’s your turn. We can do this, but we need to do it together.”