Premier Daniel Andrews has fired up in response to a series of questions about how Victoria can reopen and save the state’s crippling economy.
While revealing 81 new cases and a further 59 deaths on Friday Mr Andrews implored that the government would be cautious in its decision to allow businesses to reopen while acknowledging the hardship being experienced.
“I grew up in a household where my mother and father spent every moment of their working life in some of the businesses that we are talking about. Milk bars, cafes, franchises – not one but two Don small goods franchises … Meat processing and farming. I worked in these businesses, the moment I was old enough to do it,” he told reporters.
“I know and understand that businesses want to get back open for the best of reasons. But the key point here is being open for a few weeks is not an answer. That is not an answer and that is not an option that I will choose. That is not a decision that I will make.”
Instead, the Premier said the state needed to find a COVID-normal that could be “long-lasting”.
“When I say, ‘I know the pain that businesses are going through’ it is my background that I look to as well as the very eloquent, sometimes emotional, the very passionate pleas that I get from businesses across the whole state,” he said.
“We are listening, we hear you but the notion of being open for just a couple of weeks, that’s not a decision I’m going to make.
“What that really says to every other Victorian – every other Victorian, is that everything you’ve given, everything you’ve sacrificed doesn’t need to count for something. It absolutely does. The only thing that works here is to see this thing off properly defeat it and then lock in a COVID normal not far a few weeks but for many, many months.”
Mr Andrews will announce highly sought-after details on the roadmap out of harsh stage four restrictions on Sunday.
Leaked draft documents on Wednesday revealed Melbourne was poised for another two weeks of lockdown beyond September 13.