Panic buyers are rushing to bottle shops to stock up on alcohol amid fears stores across the country could be shut down by Monday to stop the spread of coronavirus.
All ‘non-essential’ services will be shut down within the next 48 hours in New South Wales and Victoria after a spike of confirmed cases.
Premiers Gladys Berejiklian and Daniel Andrews released separate statements on Sunday assuring supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies and home delivery services would stay open during the ‘comprehensive shutdown’.
But bars, restaurants and cafes will likely be forced to close in the coming days.
It’s understood bottle shops are considered ‘essential services’ and will not be closed, however it hasn’t stopped anxious shoppers from flocking to stockpile booze.
It’s understood bottle shops are considered ‘essential services’ and will not be closed, however it hasn’t stopped anxious shoppers flocking to stockpile alcohol
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (right) will close all non-essential services within the next 48 hours in the state to slow the spread of coronavirus
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) is also seeking approval to implement a total lockdown in his state at a scheduled national meeting on Sunday night
Thousands of anxious Australians took to social media in search of clarification about whether bottle shops would stay open in Melbourne and Sydney.
‘Urgent clarification required: are bottle shops considered an essential service?,’ tweeted one man.
‘Bottle shops are essential for keeping the peace,’ added another.
‘Brace for the onslaught of people that are getting in their car right now to nip down to Dan Murphy’s to stock up,’ added a third.
Others said their local bottle shops were flooded with customers after the announcement on Sunday afternoon.
A Coles spokesperson was unable to confirm whether Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, and First Choice Liquor stores would be closed down when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
A Coles spokesperson was unable to confirm whether Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, and First Choice Liquor stores would be closed down when contacted by Daily Mail Australia
It’s understood home delivery alcohol services such as Jimmy Brings will still be able to operate as usual.
Schools will be operating as usual in NSW on Monday, although Ms Berejiklian is planning to make further announcements on education in the morning.
Victoria will bring school holidays forward by a few days by closing all schools on Tuesday.
Mr Andrews would not confirm when schools are likely to reopen.
Both leaders will further detail their plans in a national cabinet meeting alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday evening.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 1,316
New South Wales: 533
Western Australia: 120
South Australia: 67
Australian Capital Territory: 19
Northern Territory: 5
TOTAL CASES: 1,316
NSW Health on Sunday confirmed 97 new COVID-19 cases overnight, bringing the state’s tally to 533 and the national count to 1,285.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is also seeking approval to implement a total lockdown in his state at a scheduled national meeting on Sunday night.
The state is expected to request permission to temporarily close schools from Tuesday. The state government will go ahead with the plans even without federal approval, the ABC reported.
In the meeting, politicians are also expected to discuss shutting off certain ‘COVID-19’ red zones from the wider community, similar to what was introduced in parts of Europe to slow the spread.
The policy would give state authorities the ability to prevent residents from coronavirus hotspots from travelling to less infected areas.
The prime minister has imposed further travel restrictions, placing a ban on all non-essential travel.
Scott Morrison said he will enforce ‘draconian’ measures for Australians who ignore social distancing rules
Mr Morrison said Australians would still be able to travel for work-related activities, but said people who had interstate trips planned for the upcoming school holidays should cancel them.
Even within states, people should scrap travel which isn’t part of their standard routine, Mr Morrison said.
Tasmania, the Northern Territory and now South Australia have entirely closed their borders in response to the COVID-19 threat, forcing anybody who returns to enter a mandatory 14 day self isolation period.
All beaches in Sydney’s eastern suburbs have been closed on Sunday, including Bondi, Tamarama, Maroubra and Coogee.