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Victorian abattoirs hit with COVID-19 restrictions

By Country News

Abattoirs across Victoria will have to reduce production by a third and introduce strict health protocols from midnight Wednesday under new COVID-19 restrictions announced on Monday.

Premier Daniel Andrews revealed abattoirs will be among the industries affected under new restrictions designed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

"In the meat industry – and based on the minimum required to operate safely onsite – the workforce will be scaled back to two-thirds. Unlike other changes, and recognising the risk these sites have posed here and around the world, this will apply to abattoirs in Melbourne and across the state.

"These workplaces that are continuing to operate will also have additional requirements including extra (personal protection equipment) PPE, staggering shifts, staggering breaks, health declarations and more support for sick workers to ensure they stay home.

"Workers in abattoirs will be kitted out in full PPE – gowns, masks and shields – more akin to what a nurse would wear. They’ll also be subject to routine testing.

"These changes will be enforceable. And the onus will be on employers to make sure they’re doing the right thing by their workers, including ensuring those with symptoms – and potentially the virus – do not come to work.

"As always, this work will be done in consultation with industry and with unions."

Regional Victoria is due to move back into stage three restrictions from midnight on Wednesday.

More to come.