On Monday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions, noting that retail businesses, as well as cafés, restaurants and pubs will be allowed to reopen from 11:59pm on Tuesday, subject to density limits and COVID-safe plans.
Mr Andrews also noted in his press statement that “workplaces will no longer need to be on the permitted work list to open and the ability to work will change to ‘if you can work from home you must work from home’”.
Guidance sought from the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions has revealed that accountants will not be able to reopen their practices just yet.
“Although workplaces no longer need to be on the permitted work list to open, this does not mean that accounting practices can reopen,” said CPA Australia general manager of external affairs Dr Jane Rennie.
“The Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions has advised CPA Australia that under the Third Step, Offices and Professional Services are classified as ‘Restricted - Employees must work from home or single site where reasonably practicable.’
“In terms of access to the workplace, this means that all activities that can be done at home should be. Working from an office may be considered when the work activity cannot reasonably be carried out at home.”
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott has now called on the Victorian government to speed up its reopening plan.
“It’s disappointing that many businesses will need to wait until 8 November before they have any certainty about reopening,” Ms Westacott said.
“Businesses need a plan now so they have the confidence to restock their shelves, rehire workers and get ready to reopen their doors.
“We urge the Victorian government to work with business to ensure the state can fully reopen.”
The lifting of restrictions in Melbourne comes after the state recorded zero new cases on Monday, bringing the 14-day rolling average down to 3.6 cases.
Melbournians will now no longer be required to have a reason to leave home, although work permits will still be required for workers travelling between Melbourne and regional Victoria.
From 11:59pm on 8 November, Victoria will be “one again”, with the 25-kilometre limit to be lifted.
Further restrictions will be announced then, including the opening of gyms and fitness studios, increasing hospitality capacity, and reopening accommodation.
“On 8 November, we will be able to fully explain to every Victorian city and country what the rest of November looks like, and what a COVID-19 Christmas will look like,” Mr Andrews said.
“We know that longer-term roadmap is very important, we will have more certainty and be able to provide more detail if we just wait these next 10 days and then produce those, the more complete picture for the rest of the year, on 8 November, we will have the benefit of having been open for those 10 days and we will be able to complete that picture of what the rest of 2020 looks like.”
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Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.