COMMENT

The restrictions for level three seem too harsh to me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful that so many businesses are going to be able to get going again but these restrictions are still keeping too many closed.

We should be using Australia as a guide.

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They are tracking very closely to us - similar number of cases per capita, similar number of deaths.

And yet they are not nearly as restrictive as this.

They are in lockdown right now and even in lockdown more Australian businesses are able to operate than our Government will allow to open here under level three, which is supposed to be less restrictive.

How does that work?

In Australia, retailers can open. Bunnings can open. Hairdressers can open.

Why isn't that allowed here? The guiding principle for level three is supposed to have changed. Forget what's essential, in level three it's about what's safe.

But is that being applied here?

If supermarkets and dairies can make shopping safe by controlling the number of people in the shop, why can't other retailers?

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What is Bunnings if not a supermarket for hardware, so why can't it open?

And what about hairdressers? If they can use protective gear and cut hair safely, why can't they open?

I'm willing to bet there are retailers and hairdressers right now who've just survived four weeks but might not be able to do much more.

What is Bunnings if not a supermarket for hardware, so why can't it open? Photo / File
What is Bunnings if not a supermarket for hardware, so why can't it open? Photo / File

They're still paying rent and suppliers' bills. Will they survive four weeks under level three?

I say four weeks because that's the hint in the Treasury predictions released this week. One of the scenarios outlined the outcome from four weeks in level four, followed by four weeks in level three. It's not to say that's necessarily the plan, but it's clearly a sketch of what's likely to happen.

These level three restrictions look to me like a halfway position. Looks to me like there's a chance Cabinet is divided on whether we should come out of lockdown or not, so they've found a compromise: We come out of lockdown, into lockdown-lite.

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So it still crushes businesses, it just crushes fewer businesses.