Victoria has recorded 471 new cases of coronavirus as Melbourne suffers its fourth day of stage-four lockdown.
The figure marks a dramatic decrease from the record 725 cases on Wednesday.
It comes as thousands of businesses scramble to operate under strict new rules which limit the number of staff allowed on site in a bid to slow the virus spread.
The state government only released a full list of businesses which are allowed to continue operating at 11pm last night, just one hour before the rules kicked in.
Victoria has recorded 471 new cases of coronavirus as Melbourne suffers its fourth day of stage-four lockdown. Pictured: Commuters on Thursday
The forced closure of companies in the entertainment, retail, travel and other sectors is expected to put 250,000 people out of work.
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos tweeted a public link to the updated guidelines at 1am Thursday.
‘It’s still a bit of a disaster,’ Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox told Nine’s Today show on Thursday.
‘We’re now on the first morning of the new lockdown, and businesses still aren’t clear on what they can and can’t do.’
Mr Willox said businesses were ‘flying blind’, particularly on issues like warehouses, noting that ‘reducing numbers of staff in warehouses would impact on food supplies, among many other things’, he told ABC radio.
A police car is parked outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne on Thursday
Premier Daniel Andrews had warned earlier this week the new restrictions, which would see normal staffing levels at food warehouse and meat production outlets reduced to one-third, would impact food supply.
Retail stores across the city will largely be closed to customers from Thursday, while construction and manufacturing work will also been scaled back in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
Employees allowed to work on-site now have to show a permit or official work ID if they are by stopped police to prove they can leave their homes, or face fines of up to $99,123 for businesses and up to $19,826 for individuals.
Permitted workers and those working from home who cannot supervise their kids must fill out separate forms to send them to child care, kindergarten or primary school.
The rules kicked in a day after Victoria recorded its deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic with 15 fatalities, including that of a man in his 30s, and 725 new cases.
Melbourne has been in stage-four lockdown since Sunday with schools shut, weddings banned, and citizens restricted to within a 5km radius of their homes.
Between 8pm and 5am, residents are only allowed to leave their house for work and essential health, care or safety reasons.
Victoria has reported 471 new cases of coronavirus. Pictured: A cyclist in Albert Park, Melbourne on Wednesday
Victoria’s daily coronavirus cases will rise to 1,100 by the end of next week and stay at a similar level for a further eight days, according to a grim government forecast.
The Daniel Andrews government’s secret modelling estimates cases will hover above 1,000 and won’t fall below current levels until the end of August.
High case numbers will persist well into September and October, topping 300 a day when the state’s stage four lockdown is due to end in September, according to documents leaked to The Australian.
They predict Victoria’s average daily case numbers won’t return to pre-second-wave levels until October at the earliest.
The state suffered its worst day of the COVID-19 outbreak on Wednesday, with 725 new cases and 15 fatalities, including Australia’s youngest victim – a man in his 30s.
There are now 7,227 active cases in Victoria, 2,280 of which have no known source.
Secret Victorian government modelling predicts coronavirus cases will peak in mid to late August, with average daily new cases hitting 1,100 per day
Health authorities are betting on the six-week lockdown and city-wide 8pm curfew causing cases to ‘decline quite rapidly’
The dire modelling estimates daily new cases will reach 693 by this Saturday, and then increase to more than 700 by Sunday.
It’s also predicted cases will rapidly surge at the start of next week before hitting 800 new cases per day on Thursday and 900 by Friday, and then 990 on August 15.
The state will record an average of 1,000 new cases each day for eight days, peaking at 1,100 from August 17 to August 22, according to the government forecast.
What is open in Melbourne Stage 4
Supermarkets, bottle shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, post offices, banks
Retailers working onsite to fulfill online orders
Hardware, building an garden supplies for trade
Specialist stationery for business use
Motor vehicle parts for emergency repairs, mechanics
Locksmiths, laundry and dry cleaners, maternity supplies
Disability and health services and equipment, mobility devices
Farms and commercial fishing
Vets, pounds and animal shelters
Supermarkets will stay open
Construction of critical infrastructure and services to support those projects
Critical repairs to homes where required for emergency or safety
Cafes and restaurants for takeaway
Critical service call centres
Law enforcement and courts for urgent matters
Prisons, facilities for parolees, adult parole board, youth justice facilities
Essential maintenance and manufacturing
What is closed in Melbourne Stage 4
Personal care including hairdressers
Pubs, taverns, bars, brothels and prostitution services, clubs, nightclubs
Food courts, restaurants, cafes, etc
Architectural, engineering and technical services
Travel and tour agencies
Non-emergency call centre operations
Non-urgent elective surgery
Museums, parks and gardens, ski resorts
Places of worship except what is required to stream services or provide soup kitchens and food banks
Manufacturing of non-metallic mineral and fabricated metal products, furniture, wood, textile, leather fur, dressing knitted, clothing and footwear, domestic appliances
All office-based and professional businesses, except those delivering critical services, must work from home
OPERATING BUT LIMITED
Building sites of more than three storeys – 25 per cent of workforce
Less than three storeys- five workers on site at a time only
Meat processing – workers cut by a third
Shopping centres for access to permitted retail only
Public transport, ride share and taxis only to support access to permitted services for permitted workers
Thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing with minimum number of essential participants to operate safely
NEW CRACKDOWN FOR VICTORIAN ISOLATION BREACHES
* A fine of $4957 for failing to self-isolate for a second or subsequent time – the highest on-the-spot penalty available to Victoria Police
* Police can also take offenders to court, where they face a fine of up to $20,000
* People who have tested positive or who are close contacts can no longer leave their homes for exercise
* An additional 250 sworn officers joining Operation Sentinel, which polices Victoria’s coronavirus rules
* More than 500 ADF personnel and 300 authorised officers are joining Operation Vestige, which is the door-knocking of people who have tested positive or are close contacts to ensure they are self-isolating
* More than 4000 home visits every day from next week
* Of about 3000 door knocks so far, in more than 800 cases the person supposed to be isolating was not at home
* As part of the stage-four lockdown, from midnight Wednesday workers in permitted industries who cannot work from home must carry a signed permit when travelling to and from their jobs
* People already can be fined $1652 in Victoria for breaking coronavirus rules and $200 for not wearing a mask in public.