COVID-19 UPDATE: Stage four hits businesses hard

On Monday we published an article outlining all the latest restrictions to hit Melbourne and wider Victoria. Now, Daniel Andrews has released another announcement highlighting the limitations now in place for businesses. These restrictions will run for the next six weeks, bringing yet another round of challenges for Victorians.

As it stands, stage four is now in place for all of metropolitan Melbourne, and stage three for Mitchell Shire residents. Further business restrictions will come into play at 11:59pm Wednesday 5 August and will further impact non-essential establishments across the state. This includes:

 

  • Essential food retailers and production have exemptions, as well as pharmacies and banks.
  • Cafes, bars and restaurants must remain on delivery only, or close if that is not possible.
  • A majority of retailers will be placed into mandatory closure.
  • Supermarkets, grocers, good and bottle shops, convenience stores, petrol stations, chemists, post office, hardware/building supplies will remain open. Maternity stores and automotive parts will also be open for emergency repairs only.
  • Shopping centres will only remain open to allow access to essential retailers.
  • Residents of metropolitan Melbourne can shop for essentials, as long as they are within 5km of their home, and only for an hour a day.
  • Beauty and personal care – including hairdressers – must close, alongside car washes and photo processing services.
  • Warehouses and distribution centres will have to limit their operations onsite to no more than two-thirds of their traditional workforce at any one given time.

A full description of these restrictions is available here.

 

How stage four is impacting the energy industry

 

A lot of work has been rolled out since the beginning months of 2020, to ensure solar panel installations can remain contact-free. A majority of companies and providers have ensured that these strict protocols have remained in place, to combat the spread of COVID-19 across the state.

We understand this is an extremely tough time for businesses from all walks of life, especially those that rely on call centres to provide customer service and support. As these sites have been forced into closure, there are still ways you can navigate these highly tricky circumstances, including:

 

  • Set up a temporary outsourced call centre where it’s available, instead of face-to-face activity that your business would usually rely on.
  • Outsourcing your call centre service to a region where it is not restricted or forced to close. Opt for one with trained operators in countries that aren’t struggling under the effects of COVID-19. Note that smaller islands are recommended here, instead of larger continents.

 

Back under our own roofs, shifting to working from home once more, as well as implementing remote learning for their children will see household expenses continue to climb. We’re seeing COVID-19 bill shock make its mark on homeowners who are now struggling to mitigate the loss of employment and reduced income.

We’d like to recognise that there are still ways you can help your household tackle climbing utility costs, including energy bills. Solar power installations are still available across Melbourne, with several COVID-safe procedures in place on behalf of the Clean Energy Council.

Even though a majority of construction and trades have been notified to shut down, solar systems are still accessible. We highly recommend researching the implementation of a system into your household, especially as July 1 energy rate changes have come into play.

However, if you’re ensuring that no tradesmen or visitors take foot on your property at all, the six-week lockdown period for stage four also presents an opportunity for your to sift through your many energy options and solar quotes. Here are our top tips for getting started:

  1. Compare your latest energy bill with our free health check tool. This lets you assess your rates, identify whether there is a better offer in your area right now and if so, immediately switch (no catches, your choice).
  2. Assess your usage and consumption across your house and note where better precautions could be put in place – e.g. turn off appliances that are not in use.
  3. Check out the latest resources on solar panels for your area, as well as the current subsidies available through the government.
  4. Read our other articles on navigating COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns for helpful tips. We recommend looking at this one for interest-free loans on solar power.

 

Please note that Energy Matters has restructured its business to be COVID-safe, including work-from-home measures across the board. We will continue to operate as normal and thank our many readers for their continued support. Be kind, be safe!