The health chief claims he is trying to ‘help’ businesses as he brings back Covid recommendations to wear masks, work from home and avoid the city
- Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly said the Covid recommendations would help businesses
- Cafe owners said encouraging people to work from home will ruin their business
- On Tuesday, Prof Kelly recommended people work from home and wear masks
- The recommendations came in response to increased cases and new variants
Australia’s chief medical officer has shut down complaints from frustrated cafe owners who fear the return of Covid rules will destroy their businesses.
The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Kelly told Today on Wednesday that the new recommendations, which urge workers to stay away from the CBD and public transport and stay at home, are intended to help businesses with their “continuity plans”.
The CMO heard from Melbourne CBD Cafe owners Darren and Jackie Silverman, who said their business is “just sagging at this point.”
“The streets are getting quieter and quieter,” Ms. Silverman said.
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Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly (above) told struggling business owners the renewed Covid recommendations are meant to support their “business continuity”.
Formerly thriving CBD companies are struggling to recover from Covid lockdowns as more office workers choose to work from home since the pandemic hit in 2020.
Now, renewed recommendations to work from home could mean another blow to dwindling client numbers.
In response, Dr. Kelly today said he ‘saw what was to come’ with Australia’s latest wave of Covid.
“I had made the decision to go back to wearing a mask a few weeks ago because I saw what was to come,” he said.
“The key message today is that we can all help limit the spread of the virus and that’s the most important thing over the next few months or so. Masks work, especially indoors.”
Melbourne cafe owners Darren and Jackie Silverman (above) said their business was “just sagging at this point” after Covid lockdowns caused more people to avoid the city’s CBD
Prof Kelly said the recommendations were designed to “help” businesses.
“There are two elements to working from home, one is slowing the spread and the second is actually helping businesses with their business continuity,” he said.
“A lot of people are getting sick from these new variants, so we’re talking to companies about keeping their absentee rates low.”
Professor Paul Kelly on Tuesday issued new health advice on working from home if possible and wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces.
CBD companies have struggled to recover from the Covid lockdowns as more employees are now opting to work from home
The recommendations came in response to rising case numbers rivaling the outbreak in January.
Australia’s total number of active cases reached 347,000 on Tuesday, with 5,200 patients being treated in hospital.
Prof Kelly said the sharp rise in cases was caused by the highly contagious new BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
“We cannot stop this wave of infections, but we can slow the spread and protect the vulnerable,” Prof Kelly said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has reiterated its advice on reinfection times, testing and isolation, mask wearing, vaccine boosters and treatments, and has urged employers to allow work from home where possible.”
Cafe owners slammed new Covid recommendations and encouraged more people to work from home amid rising cases (stock image of a barista pictured).
The government has not yet issued any mandates.
He urged employers to reconsider their health and safety plans in response to the new recommendations.
“You should consider the feasibility of some employees working from home, wearing masks in the workplace and supporting employees to take time off when they are ill,” he said.
“All of these recommendations are based on what we know to either reduce the spread of the virus or protect those at highest risk of serious illness.”
“This is important to protect yourself and others.”
Professor Kelly recommended people work from home if possible and wear masks in crowded indoor spaces