Victorian Government resists calls for roadmap out of lockdown
COMMUNITY Clubs Victoria (CCV) says the lack of a roadmap to manage future coronavirus outbreaks is putting immense pressure on already struggling clubs, but the Victorian Government says a form of roadmap already exists.
CCV – which represents more than 1,000 clubs and their more than three million members – has joined organisations such as the Victorian Tourism Industry Council in pushing for a roadmap, much like the one produced in 2020, that sets out the progressively lower levels of COVID-19 restrictions and the criteria needed to achieve them.
CCV chief executive officer Andrew Lloyd said the present approach had created a “culture of uncertainty” that affected clubs and the communities they served long after lockdowns and restrictions have been lifted.
“Many of our regional clubs have been operating at a significant loss under recent restrictions, despite being hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest case and having robust COVIDSafe plans in place.
“With several experts warning that we’ll likely see sporadic outbreaks in the future, we need to be given some insights into how these will be managed.
“Without that, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel and there’s no way for regional community clubs and businesses to confidently prepare for the future.
“The uncertainty created by these ongoing, blanket lockdowns also threatens to exacerbate the labour shortage that’s already affecting hospitality in regional areas.
“If a community club can be forced to close its doors indefinitely because of a case in Melbourne, the prospect of working in an industry that won’t be impacted – a supermarket or construction – becomes much more appealing.
“We implore the Victorian Government and the Chief Health Officer to take a measured approach to restrictions in regional Victoria and to provide clubs with a clear strategy moving forward, so they can continue servicing their communities into the future.”
Asked last week about the lack of a roadmap, Health Minister Martin Foley said the circumstances of this year’s outbreak were different to the outbreak in 2020, which Mr Foley said had a roadmap based on research by the Doherty Institute to bring Victoria down from the peak of 700 COVID-19 cases per day.
“That kind of statewide roadmap that needed an intensive effort to break the second wave is a very different set of circumstances to keeping numbers very low and an aggressive suppression strategy that gets them back to zero as quickly as possible.
“The roadmap might not be called a roadmap but it’s pretty clear – get tested, aggressive contact tracing that is always capable of being improved but is significantly improved on what it was, good community compliance with public health measures (such as) QR codes and social distancing, protections that keep our vulnerable communities safe during this process and get these numbers down as quickly as possible and get us open as soon as possible.
“That’s essentially the roadmap.”