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REGIONAL and rural dealers throughout Victoria are questioning why it was necessary for them to close their businesses in the latest Victorian government lockdown to prevent the spread of the outbreak of COVID-19 and are especially aggrieved by Daniel Andrews’ one-size-fits-all community lockdown when the virus was confined to Melbourne.

They joined all Victorian dealers in condemning in the strongest possible terms what they called “the clear incompetence of the Andrews government” in managing hotel quarantine which has led to car buyers confined to their homes and only able to shop for essential household items.

The blow to trading for car retailers follows the release of VFacts data which shows that while sales in Australia in January were 11 per cent higher than in January last, sales in Victoria were only up by one per cent over the period.

This indicates that, while Victorians are now free to shop for cars, compared with car sales in other states Victorians are still suffering financially from the long second-wave lockdown inflicted last year.

Politically the latest lockdown is a huge blow to Andrews, not so much because of the lockdown itself, but because even a year in the COVID pandemic, his government was still proving to be incompetent in the face of the virus.

Dealers contacted by GoAutoNews Premium were astounded that they faced closed showrooms again.

One dealer, who asked not to be named, said: “We get that you need to isolate and test people where there are outbreaks.  But we don’t accept that this government knows how to keep this thing under control and we don’t accept that you need to close businesses across the state where cities like Mildura are closed down for example and they have not had a case for six months.”

“It’s as though Andrews is on some sort of political crusade to see how far he can push the public before they snap,” he said.

The details of the lockdown are:

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced that Victoria would enter into a five-day Stage 4 lockdown from Friday, 12 February 11:59pm.

During the lockdown, Victorians will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons:

  1. Shopping for essentials
  2. Giving care
  3. Essential work and education
  4. Exercise.

Additionally, for the lockdown duration, Victorians are required to remain within a five-kilometre radius of their homes and face masks will need to be worn indoors and outdoors – whenever outside the home.

Intended to end Wednesday, 17 February at 11:59pm, the lockdown direction came after a coronavirus cluster linked to a Melbourne quarantine hotel began to increase.

The Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce told dealers: “At this time, VACC is advising members to adopt Stage 4 conditions that were in place during the second wave. These include:

  • Implementing contactless services (click and collect, contactless payment, vehicle delivery etc)
  • Employees must work from home if possible
  • Vehicle and mechanical repair services (as per the Essential providers list), including logbook servicing
  • Social distancing of 1.5 metres must be adhered to.

The Department of Health and Human Services has advised the Chamber that Permitted Worker Permits are not required.

The Chamber said VACC members are encouraged to refer to the Victorian Government’s dedicated COVID-19 website for the latest updates.

To provide information on restrictions and support to business owners, a Business Victoria hotline has been established.

Business Victoria: Phone: 13 22 15

For more information

Victorian Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria

Victorian Government: Circuit breaker action 12 February 2021

Victorian Government: Essential providers list

Victorian Premier: Statement 12 February 2021

By John Mellor

Dealer Auction