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Victorian Offices Will Remain Closed Throughout June

Some coronavirus restrictions will be lifted in the state on June 1, but Victoria changed its work from home advice to an order. Here’s what you need to know.

From June 1, Victorians are permitted to gather in groups of 20 and venues are allowed to serve 20 customers at a time – albeit with social distancing and hygiene measures in place.

Dining out and having small house parties will help Victorians feel a little more normal, but a return to the office for those of us working from home is still a while away. Premier Daniel Andrews announced in a press conference that the state was maintaining its stance on working from home.

“We’re not requiring any more people to work from home than has been the case over these last eight to 10 weeks. We’re simply asking for the maintenance, the continuation, of those work from home arrangements,” he said. “It’s critically important to avoiding a second wave.”

The order is in place until July, when it will be reviewed. The idea is to minimise numbers on public transport, with concerns that social distancing measures will be difficult to maintain as trains and buses fill up again. Businesses that breach the order could be fined up to $100,000.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told ABC Radio that she didn’t expect fines to be issued as the directive is aimed at businesses that have shifted to a work from home model already.

“We don’t think it’s going to come to people being fined. If you’ve been working from home in recent weeks, you must continue to do so – nothing changes,” she said. “So if your employer has supported you to work from home – essentially for most office workers that’s been the situation – then they’re responsible now to support their staff to continue to work from home.”

Like cafes and bars, offices are considered a high-risk environment for spreading coronavirus. While the work from home order will be reviewed again in July, it’s not yet clear when we might be back in the office with our workmates.

Photography: Holly Engelhardt

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