Victoria – and Victorians – have achieved something remarkable.
We’ve made sacrifices. We’ve missed loved ones. We’ve given up getting on the beers.
And in doing so, we’ve helped keep one another safe.
Because of those efforts, we’ve been able to gradually ease restrictions. And from Monday, we’ll no longer be giving Victorians a definitive list of reasons to leave home.
Instead, we’ll be asking people to use that same common sense – and that same sense of community – in the weeks and months to come.
Some measures, though, must stay the same. One of the key things that won’t change is working from home. If you’re currently working from home – you must keep working from home.
By working from home, we limit the number of people moving around – and we limit the spread of this virus.
To date, we’ve left the ins and the outs of how this will work to Victorians and their employers.
But going forward – and in light of new evidence indicating increased activity – the obligation for employers to keep their staff working from home will now be included in the Chief Health Officer’s directions.
That means there will now be a clear and shared responsibility between workers and their bosses. For employees, that means an obligation to keep working from home. And for employers, an obligation to support them in doing so.
As we’ve said from the start, our actions will always be guided by evidence.
Right now, we can’t have the usual number of people on our trains, trams and buses – it just isn’t safe.
And we know that if just half the people who normally use public transport start driving to work, we will see our freeways and other major roads grind to a halt.
The number of people on the roads and the transport network is already starting to increase and we cannot let that creep continue.
If we do, then we’ll see commute times worse than anything any of us have ever experienced – two hours from Werribee to the city, 90 minutes from Reservoir and two and half hours from Mulgrave.
The majority of Victorians – and employers – are following the work from home advice.
But for the small number that are not, this is about removing any shadow of doubt: if you can work from home, you must continue to do so.
And because we’re asking this of businesses – this applies equally to workers in the public sector too.
We’re also being upfront: we don’t yet have a timeline on when this might change, or how we might be able to get back to work as normal.
For now, we’re saying this will be in place until at least the end of June, but it may well be longer. As always, that will depend on the advice of our Chief Health Officer.
What is clear is that by continuing to work from home – you are making a very real difference to the safety of our state.
The challenge we face is far from over.
So, keep your distance. Keep washing your hands.
And if you’ve been working from home – you must keep working from home.
It’s up to all of us to make this work.