As our live coverage nears the end for the night, let’s take another look at our headline news: A McDonald’s outlet at Craigieburn in Melbourne’s north has closed and its 223 employees are in self-isolation after a worker tested positive for COVID-19.
After the coronavirus cluster at Fawkner McDonald’s grew by two to 10 cases today, a McDonald’s spokeswoman confirmed an employee at Craigieburn McDonald’s had tested positive.
The employee at the outlet on Craigieburn Road West is an “extended family member” of a worker at Fawkner McDonald’s where there has been a cluster of cases. The McDonald’s spokeswoman said they were unable to clarify the exact relation. The employee had not worked at the Fawkner restaurant.
House-sharing can be curly at the best of times, but throw in a pandemic and things can become a whole lot more complicated. From dealing with sudden isolation together and navigating Zoom meetings with your new (probably loud) colleagues to handling costs after employment changes.
But they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and this rings true for Brigid Davis, 29, and her three housemates, Lizzie, Maddy and Matt.
There’s no denying there have been issues. A fifth housemate moved out of their Melbourne rental at the start of lockdown and Matt sadly lost work. But the foursome has been overcoming hurdles together and finding themselves closer than ever.
To unwind, they’ve been having mini dance parties while watching live-streams of music sets, setting fitness challenges and enjoying big weekend cook-ups.
The toughest part has been the search for a fifth replacement housemate. “A lot of people are out of work or have moved back in with parents,” Davis says. “[But] we don’t want to keep paying an extra person’s rent.”
RMIT University has come under fire for asking staff to volunteer to take on teaching work previously done by hundreds of laid-off casual employees.
The university’s School of Science this week published a “volunteers needed” callout in its newsletter.
“We’re currently recruiting volunteers with a high research focus to assist with teaching, tutorials and marking in semester 2,” it read.
“Our casual staff budget must decrease by 40 per cent in the second half of the year, so if you’re able to give some time and take some pressure off our academic staff, please contact your Associate Dean.”
RMIT has let go close to 200 casual staff in the past two months as it struggles with the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis. The university is predicting a revenue gap of about $175 million in 2020.
Sam Gibbard, president of the RMIT division of the National Tertiary Education Union, said despite the unprecedented times the callout was “galling.”
“People are outraged at the suggestion that they take on more unpaid work at the expense of their colleagues,” he said.
“This is not insignificant work, it is the bread and butter of the uni, and they’re going to try to force that work on to already overworked permanent staff who are working at a full load.”
BMW workers take their own temperature three times a day and submit the results via an internal chat app. Foxconn, the electronics giant, tells employees to wash their hands before and after handling documents. A ride-share driver wipes down his car daily and sends video proof to headquarters.
The world needs rules and guidelines for the post-coronavirus workplace, and China is the first laboratory.
Three months after authorities virtually shut down the country to stop the outbreak, its workers have returned to their jobs with the aim of restarting the country’s vast growth machine without igniting another outbreak. If Chinese factories and offices can successfully restart without major infections, they could serve as a model for other countries.
The New York Times
What will shopping centres and stores look like this weekend?
National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb, who spoke to radio station 3AW earlier today, warns shoppers to expect to line up outside stores as businesses adhere to social distancing guidelines.
She said New South Wales had a record weekend with “unprecedented crowds” in shopping centres as restrictions eased ahead of Mother’s Day.
“It’s not Mother’s Day, so potentially levels won’t be as high, however, Victorians haven’t been able to participate in society for much longer,” she said.
“It’s very possible people might be out and about in droves.”
Ms Lamb said she expected international brands to be open. In other states about 40 per cent of stores in shopping centres were open for business on the first weekend of eased restrictions.
Premier Daniel Andrews has set a new goal for the state. He wants 150,000 more people to be tested for coronavirus by the end of the month.
“Before easing restrictions, we asked Victorians to come and get tested,” Mr Andrews wrote on Facebook. “We wanted as much data as possible to inform our decisions and understand how the virus was spreading in our state. We were hoping for 100,000 – but 161,000 people stepped up.
“Now we need to maintain that momentum – and monitor how we’re tracking.
“That’s why we’ve set a new goal – and it’s just as ambitious as the last: 150,000 more Victorians tested for coronavirus by the end of May.
“Just finally – I know people are excited about seeing friends and family. But now is not the time to get complacent. Now is not the time to undo everything we’ve worked so hard for. So please, whenever you can – stay home, stay apart and get tested.”
Victoria has the highest testing rate in the country – we’re conducting about 4600 tests per 100,000 people.
Any Victorian can be tested for COVID-19 at dozens of screening clinics around the state, but the Northern Hospital in Epping is reminding all teachers and school staff they can be tested even if they are symptom-free.
As you decide whether to head out this weekend to take advantage of the relaxed restrictions, keep in mind this message from Ambulance Victoria.
Our footy players will have a long list of rules to abide by in order to be exempt from interstate travel restrictions.
Here’s a break down of today’s big announcement and the new protocols in place from Age sports writer Peter Ryan (it’s a really, really long list):
- Clubs will resume training in groups of 10 on Monday. Full-contact training can resume on May 25.
- The season will resume on Thursday, June 11. The schedule for the next four rounds will be announced next week.
- Every player plus 24 football department staff and the COVID-19 compliance officer will have to live under the tight protocols.
- A risk assessment will be carried out on each player’s home.
- Each player and official will be tested twice a week, with the results known before they engage in contact training.
- If a player or official breaches the protocols they could face stiff penalties from the AFL under the “conduct unbecoming” clause.
- Potential breaches will be graded as intentional, reckless or careless.
- If any player tests positive for coronavirus they will be removed from action, their contacts will be traced, and they will spend time in isolation.
- Players will receive 50 per cent of their pay. They faced a 70 per cent pay cut if there were no games.
- Four clubs will go into hubs on the Gold Coast. Port Adelaide and Adelaide will enter hubs to start training on May 25, while West Coast and Fremantle will enter hubs on the Gold Coast before the first game on June 11. The AFL has agreed that players’ families can stay in the hub, with the league covering the cost.
- Fixtures will be announced in four-week blocks.
- The season is expected to finish in mid-October, and the finals format should remain the same.
- The MCG will host the grand final, unless it is unavailable due to contracts with other sports.
Back to that other important announcement of the day: the return of the AFL.
Sports writer Peter Ryan reports that players may be forced to move out of their homes as a last resort if their living arrangements are considered too risky under strict return-to-play protocols put in place to re-start the season.
Paul Marsh from the AFL Players’ Association hopes that no player would have to change their living arrangements. However he said if that was considered necessary the league would cover the cost.
“That’s the absolute last resort. There are other steps that will be taken before you get to that point,” Marsh said.
“The industry’s not trying to come in here and move players away from their families or their housemates. There’s a set of protocols that need to be agreed to have the ability for football teams to travel around the country and this is one of them.
“Obviously, there is risk depending on who players live with, but there are some steps that can be taken. For example, if a player was living with roommates who weren’t their family, to keep living with them it might be that we require testing of those roommates.
“There are steps that will be taken before you get to asking a player to move out.”