Retail in metro Melbourne is set to reopen in step three of Premier Daniel Andrews' plan to ease Victoria out of COVID restrictions.
Announcing the plan yesterday, Premier Andrews outlined a four step action plan to ease the state out of Stage 4 and get to a 'COVID Normal', emphasising that it has to be done slowly to avoid another wave of the virus.
Non-essential retailers in metro Melbourne will have to continue operating as they are now - via eCommerce with home delivery and click and collect options available to customers - until 26 October.
Step three will only be allowed to go ahead if the state reaches less than five new cases (state-wide average over previous 14 days) and less than five new cases with an unknown source (state-wide total over last 14 days).
"By moving from stages to steps, we’re giving Victorians a long-term plan for our path out of restrictions and into COVID Normal," Premier Andrews said in a statement.
"Importantly, we want the whole of the state to be at COVID Normal by the end of the year – making sure family barbeques, summer holidays and a trip to the beach can all still happen.
"These steps will be guided by dates – and the data.
"That means if we’re on-track to take a step forward, we can do so confidently.
"With clear and articulated case targets, we’re creating “trigger points” for review for our public health team – and giving Victorians even more insight into how we’re tracking," he said.
Meanwhile, retailers in regional Victoria will begin on step two of the plan from 11.59pm on September 13, however, they will still have to operate via their eCommerce channels until they're clear to move into step three.
In a statement, the National Retail Association said that by 26 October, retail in Victoria will have been closed for a significant amount of time.
"At this point, retail will have been in lockdown for 13 weeks.
"The National Retail Association notes that shopping centres have been utilising COVIDSafe plans to great effect, and with the onset of Christmas shopping fast approaching, retailers should be able to open in a COVIDSafe way as soon as possible," the organisation said.
The plan for the whole state will begin at 11.59pm on September 13 2020.