The Australian city of Melbourne has shut all non-essential businesses, as “Stage 4” restrictions come fully into force as part of a six-week lockdown.
Essential services will remain in business. Meat processing facilities considered high-risk, warehouses, and construction will continue to operate at a reduced capacity.
The Stage 4 restrictions will cost the Australian economy up to $8.5 billion over three months, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday, acknowledging it was necessary but painful.
The state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, saw 471 new cases and eight related deaths on Wednesday, said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
“I’m not for a moment saying businesses are happy about this They’re not, I’m not, workers are not. This is not the position we wanted to find ourselves in,” Andrews said. “But the reality of the challenge we face, a greater challenge than perhaps we’ve ever faced, is we have to make these tough calls.”