Melbourne Town Hall candidates urge easing of COVID-19 restrictions

2.04pm THE AGE online edition Sep 25, 2020
Melbourne Town Hall candidates urge easing of COVID-19 restrictions
By Bianca Hall

Two candidates for the upcoming election for Melbourne Town Hall have called for the immediate easing of COVID-19 restrictions they say are disproportionately harming Melbourne businesses.

Pollster and Melbourne lord mayor candidate Gary Morgan on Tuesday urged the state government to move to stage two restrictions immediately, claiming it was impossible for the state to reach a daily case average of close to zero.
Pollster Gary Morgan of Roy Morgan Research.
Pollster Gary Morgan of Roy Morgan Research.CREDIT:JESSE MARLOW

Mr Morgan said he would work with the Victorian and federal governments to ease restrictions to “COVID stage two”, but when asked whether this should happen straight away or when case numbers fell further, he said it should happen immediately.

Mr Morgan, who has run in four previous campaigns for Melbourne Town Hall – each time succeeding in having councillors elected – said his sole focus this time around was immediately easing restrictions to allow the CBD to reopen safely.

“This will involve all CBD shops, restaurants, hotels, being opened up for local residents, that is, people who live in the CBD, Southbank, Docklands or East Melbourne – all part of the Melbourne CBD Community,” he said.

He said Town Hall should work with the state government to open the CBD more broadly, by providing free masks for workers in construction, hospitality, sport, retail,and other industries, as well as voluntary temperature and COVID-19 testing.

“Within a bureaucratic bubble, where all public servants have jobs and their lives go on, it is easy for Daniel Andrews and his team to forget the human and economic impact of their decisions to lock people up for their own safety,” he said.

“It is also easy to be so busy, so focussed on getting through the daily communications, that the devastating medium and long term effects are lost to them.”

One of his team’s candidates for Melbourne Town Hall, Councillor Jackie Watts, also urged the easing of restrictions in the CBD, urging the state government to ease the ban on moving further than five-kilometres for shopping or exercise.

Cr Watts said the Queen Victoria Market was being disproportionately affected by the 5km rule.

“QVM is dying as lockdown grinds on,” she said.
“The State Government should immediately remove this unreasonable constraint on the movement of people seeking essential food shopping at QVM – and elsewhere for that matter. ”