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Covid recommendations: Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly tells cafe owners it will help businesses

Clueless moment health boss on $400K/year in secure Canberra job tells struggling café owner couple he’s trying to HELP them by recommending Aussies wear masks, work from home and AVOID the city

  • Chief health officer Paul Kelly said Covid recommendations will help businesses 
  • Cafe owners said encouraging people to work from home will kill their business
  • On Tuesday Prof Kelly recommended people work from home and wear masks
  • The recommendations came in response to increased cases and new variants 

Australia’s chief medical officer has shut down complaints from frustrated cafe owners who are worried bringing back Covid rules will kill their off businesses.

Chief medical officer Dr Paul Kelly told Today on Wednesday that the new recommendations, that call for workers to stay away from the CBD and public transport and stay home, are designed to help businesses with their ‘continuity plans’.

The CMO heard from Melbourne CBD cafe owners Darren and Jackie Silverman, who said their business was ‘just hanging in there at this point’.

‘It’s just getting quieter and quieter on the street,’ Ms Silverman said. 

Scroll down for the video. 

Australia’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly (above) told struggling business owners renewed Covid recommendations are designed to help their ‘business continuity’

Formerly thriving CBD businesses have struggled to recover from Covid lockdowns with more office workers choosing to work from home ever since the pandemic exploded in 2020.

Now renewed recommendations to work from home could see their dwindling customer numbers take another hit.

In response, Dr Kelly told Today he ‘saw what was coming’ with Australia’s latest Covid wave.

‘I’d made a decision a couple of weeks ago to start wearing a mask again because I saw what was coming,’ he said.

‘The key message today is that we can all contribute to decrease the spread of the virus, and that’s the important thing over the next month or so. Masks work, particularly in indoor settings.’ 

Melbourne cafe owners Darren and Jackie Silverman (above) said their business was 'just hanging in there at this point' after Covid lockdowns saw more people avoid the city's CBD

Melbourne cafe owners Darren and Jackie Silverman (above) said their business was ‘just hanging in there at this point’ after Covid lockdowns saw more people avoid the city’s CBD

Prof Kelly said the recommendations were designed to ‘help’ businesses.

‘In terms of the work from home, there are two elements, one is slowing the spread and the second is actually helping businesses with their business continuity,’ he said.

‘A lot of people are going to get sick with these new variants so we’re talking to businesses about keeping their absentee rates down.’

However, his comments were criticised for being out of touch as Prof Kelly spends his time in Canberra earning over $400,000 a year.

Professor Paul Kelly issued new health recommendations on Tuesday to work from home when possible and wear masks in crowded indoor spaces.

CBD businesses have struggled to recover from Covid lockdowns with more employees now choosing to work from home

CBD businesses have struggled to recover from Covid lockdowns with more employees now choosing to work from home

The recommendations were in response to increasing case numbers that are rivalling January’s outbreak.

Australia’s total active cases hit 347,000 on Tuesday with 5,200 patients receiving treatment in hospital.

Prof Kelly said the drastic rise in cases was caused by the highly-contagious new BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

‘We cannot stop this wave of infections but we can slow the spread and protect the vulnerable,’ Prof Kelly said in a statement on Tuesday.

‘The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has reiterated its advice on reinfection periods, testing and isolation, mask-wearing, vaccine boosters and treatments and called on employers to allow work from home if feasible.’ 

Cafe owners slammed new Covid recommendations encouraging more people to work from home amid rising cases (pictured, a stock image of a barista)

Cafe owners slammed new Covid recommendations encouraging more people to work from home amid rising cases (pictured, a stock image of a barista)

The government has not yet put mandates in place. 

He urged employers to reconsider their Occupational Health and Safety plans in response to the new recommendations.

‘They should consider the feasibility of some employees working from home, wearing masks in the workplace and support employees to take leave when sick,’ he said.

‘All these recommendations are based on what we know works to either reduce the spread of the virus or protect those at highest risk of severe disease.’

 ‘This is important to protect yourself and others.’ 

Professor Kelly recommended people work from home when possible and wear masks in crowded indoor spaces

Professor Kelly recommended people work from home when possible and wear masks in crowded indoor spaces 

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