Here is the summary of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions imposed by the Daniel Andrews-led Victorian Government on Monday (as they relate to ASX companies):
- These truly essential services will operate like normal:
- Retail stores like Bunnings Warehouse, owned by Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES), will close on Wednesday night — unless they can offer truly contactless (i.e. drive-thru) facilities. This may result in stores like Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd (ASX: HVN) and JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) operating solely online.
- Construction will change from Friday.
- Major projects (e.g. infrastructure works in Melbourne) have already been reduced by 50% and new projects will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Builders of commercial projects (e.g. apartment buildings) must reduce their team to 25% of their usual team. Virtually, a ‘skeleton crew’.
- It will be illegal for domestic home builders to have more than 5 people on a worksite.
- Daniel Andrews said the changes to our ‘lifeblood’ sector, Construction, was hard and will result in “substantial pain“.
- While butchers and most facilities will remain open at a lower level (i.e. 30% lower than usual), employees at meatworks and other processing stores will be required to work at no more than one facility and the strictest quarantine measures must be adhered to, including ‘healthcare worker-like’ medical guards, equipment and aprons.
The exact timing of the changes vary, and more information will be provided on Tuesday.
However, one thing is for sure: with Victoria remaining one of (if not the) most important distribution hubs for many of Australia’s states, the adverse implications will be felt wider than one state.
What ASX investors can do now
For investors, the important consideration, as always, is knowing how your companies will be impacted by COVID, ensuring you own shares of companies capable of surviving the downturn and, potentially, buy ASX growth shares that might actually stand to benefit from the shift to more online commerce.
Companies like Temple & Webster (ASX: TPW), SelfWealth Ltd (ASX: SWF), Pushpay Holdings Ltd (ASX: PPH), and many others, have proven to be beneficiaries of this shift. But they certainly aren’t the only bright lights on the ASX.