It is challenging for those in states not impacted by harsh COVID restrictions to understand the financial, mental and physical impact of extended lockdowns. This is particularly true in Melbourne, where members are doing it really tough, and the state’s leaders are taking a “no back down” approach to business restrictions.
My thoughts, and I am sure the sentiments of all of those with the good fortune to be located in a “non-locked down state,” are with those friends and colleagues who are forced to struggle during ongoing lockdowns. Hopefully, we are seeing daily vaccination rates that will result in us returning to something more normal in the weeks ahead.
The following bulletin focuses on current conditions in Victoria, ACT and NSW, where Governments have recently announced their “roadmaps” out of COVID lockdown.
Victorian members can rest assured that despite the highly challenging circumstances dealing with a Government that will not compromise on its approach to business lockdowns, ACWA has not backed down. Every day and at every opportunity, we contact politicians and public servants pushing car washing’s case to reopen.
ACWA has been advocating the safety and necessity of commercial car washing in Victoria for 18 months. However, the last couple of months has seen our tac change slightly by intensifying our focus on reopening contactless automatic car washes in the immediate term.
To this end, for many weeks, ACWA has been calling on the Chief Health Officer (and several other Government Ministers and Departments) to alter the Authorised Worker and Provider lists to, at a minimum, allow the operation of Automatic Car Washes.
In what appears to have been a slight change in attitude, ACWA yesterday received positive advice from the Office of the Chief Health Officer that the application is now “being considered”.
I also take this moment to acknowledge the work of ACWA Director Andrew Triant from Wash World for orchestrating today’s Herald Sun (page 8) editorial on the plight of car washing.
Recent Victorian Announcements
The Victorian Government has announced that there will be a modest easing of restrictions from 11:59 pm tonight (Tuesday 28 September 2021) as 80% of Victorians have now received a single COVID-19 vaccine dose.
This includes the Greater Geelong and Surf Coast municipalities exiting lockdown with their restrictions aligned with the rest of regional Victoria.
However, there will be no changes for business in metropolitan Melbourne.
The changes in metropolitan Melbourne include some minimal concessions to personal like including:
- Recreation activities outdoors permitted, e.g. golf, boating, tennis, etc
- Gatherings outdoors increased to up to 5 adults, from 2 households
- Increase in the maximum travel distance to 15 km when leaving home for shopping and exercise
Members can access full details of the Victorian Roadmap here https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorias-roadmap
New South Wales
Whilst it appears that many of our NSW based members have continued to operate during the lockdown, ACWA has been proactively politicking to have commercial car washing specified as an essential business. There have been approaches made to several ministers and government officials. Still, to date, we have not received confirmation, nor has there been the wholesale change to the health regulations for car washing we have called for.
NSW “Roadmap to Recovery”
At Sunday’s media conference, the Premier focused on the following:
- The 70% double dose rules that would apply from 11 October 2021
- Provided detail around the rules that will apply at 80% full vaccination
- Provided some detail of rules that will apply from 1 December 2021, at which point it will no longer be relevant whether an individual is vaccinated.
70% Double Dose
The 70% double dose rules that will apply from 11 October 2021:
- Hospitality and retail venues can reopen – unvaccinated people will continue only be able to access critical retail.
- Employers must continue to allow people to work at home if possible.
- Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues
- Regional travel is not allowed unless permitted under current requirements
- A booking cap of 20 people per booking has been introduced for hospitality venues
80% Double Dose
It gets a little complicated here with different rules for the vaccinated and unvaccinated and rules altering again from 1 December 2021.
ACWA suggests members check the fact sheet to familiarise themselves with the detail.
It can be found here https://www.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-09/FACT%20SHEET.pdf
We further encourage car wash operators to look specifically at:
- Work from home conditions
- Mask regulations
- Density limits
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT’s “Pathway Forward” was also released yesterday.
The announcement by the Chief Minister outlined the Territory’s path out of COVID restrictions. He said that “subject to the public health risk remaining relatively stable in the next two weeks, the ACT’s lockdown will end at 11:59 pm on Thursday 14 October, triggering a transition to medium level public health measure”.
Further relaxation of conditions will take place on 29 October, which will allow for increased density limits, the reopening of retail and the restart of ticketed events.
Information relating to businesses is not fully detailed, and members are encouraged to look at the limited detail available on the Chief Minister’s press release https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/open_government/inform/act_government_media_releases/barr/2021/act-pathway-forward
Neil Fox, President
Australian Car Wash Association