Businesses in Victoria have been told they must continue to support their employees in working from home until the end of June at the earliest, even as restrictions on visiting restaurants, cafes, pubs, nail salons and other venues ease.
In announcing the new measures on Friday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday said one key thing that won’t change is working from home.
“If you’re currently working from home – you must keep working from home,” he said.
“By working from home, we limit the number of people moving around – and we limit the spread of this virus.
Andrews said the government is leaving the ins and outs of how that will work to Victorians and their employers, but said the obligation for employers to keep their staff working from home will now be included in the Chief Health Officer’s directions.
For retailers that have reopened stores in recent weeks, that could mean two different policies for head office staff and store staff.
Patagonia Australia, for instance, reopened its retail stores on May 25 with new safety measures, such as reduced trading hours, lower capacity limits in-store and no fitting rooms, among other measures.
But with regard to its head office in Torquay, Victoria, the retailer told Inside Retail it is continuing to follow the advice of state and federal governments.
Speaking to ABC Melbourne radio on Monday, Andrews acknowledged that the work-from-home edict was not perfect, but said there was no other choice.
“No business will survive if we have to go back into even harder lockdown than what we’re just coming out of slowly and gradually,” he said.