As COVID-19 cases rapidly rise across the southern states with no indication of slowing, people are left thinking ‘what’s next’ when it comes to restrictions.
Victorian COVID-19 cases rose into the thousands over the past weeks, and as a result, stage three restrictions continue in the state. Communities are urging for tighter regulations as people continue to flout the rules, and talk is turning into conversations about a possible stage four lockdown.
So what is a stage four lockdown? The reality is that we won’t know for sure what it looks like until it happens, but it would most likely see the closure of all non-essential businesses. There is no one uniform way to deal with a pandemic. While there are some ways that work better than others, it is up to the government on how a country responds.
The current stage three lockdown places restrictions on all non-essential activities with only a handful of reasons to be out in public. These are shopping for essential items, exercise, caregiving, and work or study if these cannot be performed at home. Melbourne has also imposed mandatory mask-wearing in public and is issuing fines if people fail to wear them.
There is speculation an Australian stage four lockdown would look similar to our trans-pacific friends in New Zealand, who implemented harsh restrictions for four weeks back in March. It was deemed a success. The virus was practically eliminated from the community. However, it did come at a cost.
Hairdressers, butchers, cafes, fruit shops, spas and clinics could not operate.
A New Zealand style lockdown would require shutting all businesses except for a small selection deemed essential. That is supermarkets, GPs and pharmacies. Hairdressers, butchers, cafes, fruit shops, spas and clinics could not operate. Even the fast-food chains that remain open on public holidays would be required to shut their doors if we take a leaf out of New Zealand’s book. It would see people stay at home and tightly define what is an essential worker.
What does this mean for spas and clinics? Under a New Zealand style lockdown, clinics would not be deemed essential, and they would be required to cease operation, even if they offer medical treatment. If a clinic is open for retail only, they would also have to shut.
In all this speculation, there is some relief if you’re a spa or clinic currently staring down the barrel of six weeks of stage three restrictions, and that is, everything is just speculation at this point. There is no clear indication that government leaders will advance to stage four, and it is something not to be taken lightly considering the economic impact. Many people object it on the basis that it will not help Australia as we are at a different phase in the pandemic compared to New Zealand. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
What are your thoughts on a stage four lockdown? Let us know in the comments below.