Members Statements – Business restrictions

Regional Victorian gyms were told on Sunday they would finally be allowed to reopen from Tuesday night. Rules were put in place and everyone seemingly knew where they stood. On the face of it, it was good, if long overdue, news.

Last night my office spoke with Jade Thwaites at Anytime Fitness in Warrnambool, who found herself in the position of having to close again because of a lack of information from this government. When Jade phoned the COVID hotline on Tuesday to check they had everything in place to open first thing Wednesday morning, there was no mention of a COVID marshal. In the Premier’s announcement on Sunday, there was no mention of a COVID marshal. As of 7.00 pm last night gyms were not on the government’s list of businesses required or recommended to have a COVID marshal.

The first anyone knew was via a Facebook post on 1.00 pm on Wednesday that confirmed a COVID marshal was required for the entire time a gym is operational. Anytime Fitness is 24/7. So last night Jade again had to close the doors after starting work at 5.00 am, having no clue about this requirement. She had no way of having a COVID marshal on site for the evening at such short notice.

How can businesses be expected to be compliant when they are told one thing but, once they open, the rules and requirements are changed. Businesses are already doing it tough, and restrictions on how they can operate make it tougher. The government must provide businesses with all the information from the get-go. The last thing they need are last-minute changes that have huge impacts on how they can operate, adding extra strain.

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