Call for sensible COVID changes
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Call for sensible COVID changes

Minor changes that do not increase health risk, but would benefit East Gippsland community groups, businesses and individuals have been suggested by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, in State Parliament.

“The changes I suggest today are simply common sense, remove anomalies or adopt what is working very well in other states,” he told Parliament.

“The Premier says we can have 40 in a hospitality venue, but this is not true as they are limited by the 10 per room rule.

“If a restaurant only has one room, which most do, they are limited to 10 and if a pub has a bar and bistro only, they are limited to 20, which leaves them unviable and unable to open. The 40 limit is unachievable unless you have four rooms, and most do not.

“Other states are keeping their total venue cap (40 in Victoria), but allowing people per room to be dictated by the health advice on floor space (one person per four square metres). This is allowing more venues that have the floor space to be viable, able to open.

“For example, if you have a hundred square metre room (eg pub bistro), you are limited to 10 patrons in Victoria at present under the room cap, but in other states you could have 25 in the same room (one per four square metres) and it is safe,” he said.

“The Government needs to look at cinemas. We can have 20 in a church, but we cannot have 20 in a cinema, which is often bigger. It makes no sense.

“For those who are looking to get married, how is it we can have 20 in church for a mass, but not 20 for a wedding. Why are outdoor funerals allowed 50, but outdoor weddings only 10 - we need some consistency,” he told Parliament.

“I have a ferry service operator and his boat has 100 square metres of floor space, but he is limited to 10 people. After fires and COVID decimated his business, he needs some common sense applied.

“Men’s sheds are so important to the health and wellbeing of our seniors. We can have 20 people in a church, 10 in a café – but men’s sheds are closed.

“Tools can be sanitised and social distancing implemented. They should be able to operate under the same safe restrictions for the mental health of those who use these terrific facilities.”

Mr Bull said there were many more anomalies that could be rectified to help local communities recover, but this would be a good start.

Friday, October 30, 2020