Monday, October 25, 2021

Construction workers block Melbourne streets over tea room restrictions

Dozens of construction workers have blocked off major roads in Melbourne in protest of the new Covid restrictions placed on tea rooms.
Workers took plastic furniture out onto the roads and had their smoko there, blocking off traffic.
The ban on tea rooms was introduced yesterday in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Collins, King and Lonsdale Streets in the CBD as well as Sydney Road in Brunswick and High Street in Kew were blocked off.
CFMMEU state secretary John Setka told 3AW the protests were done without consultation and were “pretty appalling”.
“What they decided was if we can’t sit in the smoko shed where do we have our break?” he said.
“So they’ve taken all the tables and chairs out into the fresh air.
“They’ve got nowhere else to have their smoko.”
Traffic is light in the CBD during lockdown, but cars, trams, buses trucks were stopped from passing through nevertheless.
In some instances, a worker holding a stop sign prevented vehicles from passing through.
Victoria’s COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said tea rooms for construction workers had to close as they posed a “significant risk of transmission”.
Mr Weimar said the closure of tea rooms should not be a big deal to workers.
“If it means you can’t sit next to your mates while you’re having a sandwich, that doesn’t seem a huge burden to bear.”
Yesterday it was announced that vaccines would be made mandatory for construction workers in Victoria.
Construction workers state-wide must show proof to their employer that they have had at least one vaccine dose by 11.59pm on September 23.
Limited medical exemptions and proof-of-booking exceptions will apply.
Construction workers will also be banned from crossing the metropolitan-regional border for works amid fears of the virus seeding into the regions.
Tea rooms will also need to close and food or drink cannot be consumed indoors at work. Worker shift bubbles also must be in place.

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