The government says as many as one million Australians could find themselves out of work in the coming days due to shutdown.
Canberra, Australia – Queues outside welfare offices stretched for blocks, the main government website crashed, and hundreds of thousands of people suddenly found themselves without a job as Australia this week tightened restrictions designed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
The federal government has warned that as many as one million Australians could find themselves out of work in the coming days as a result of the shutdown
Rich was at work in a bar in the western city of Perth on Sunday evening when Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a second stimulus package to support the economy. Rich, who preferred to share only his first name, said he immediately realized he and his colleagues were about to lose their jobs.
“All pubs, gyms, cafes are to be closed so we’re all out of work,” the 29-year-old explained. “I suppose I am still technically employed but who knows when the pubs and restaurants can reopen.”
Cafes and restaurants are still allowed to serve takeaway food and drinks, but the government has hinted that this could change if Australians do not practice adequate physical distancing.
“I got there two hours early to beat the queues,” he said. “Not sure what I’ll do going forward … hopefully, my partner keeps her job.”
Non-essential services were ordered to close this week across Australia as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continued to increase. Restrictions announced on Sunday evening have become progressively stronger, with new measures being announced daily.
To keep the economy going, the government announced two large stimulus packages worth 84 billion Australian dollars ($50bn) in quick succession. Both packages were passed by a reduced-in-size Parliament on Monday evening.