Changes To Regional COVID Restrictions

News

Statement by Premier Andrews on changes to regional Victoria COVID restrictions

(issued Sunday 2 August 2020)

From the outset of this second surge, our aim has been to protect regional communities. By putting a ring around the city, we want to protect the entirety of our state.

For the most part, it’s worked. But as we know, this virus doesn’t discriminate, and its only goal is to spread.

Based on the current numbers, it’s clear there is a real and growing threat in some regional communities.

The thought of this virus getting into regional aged care – and wiping out entire generations within our regional communities – is something that keeps me up at night. I know I’m not alone.

We cannot let this virus tear through regional aged care in the way it has with private sector aged care in Melbourne.

We cannot let it mean more Victorians in hospital beds. More Victorians hooked up to machines just to breathe.

And more Victorians – more grandparents, parents, sons, daughters, partners and loved ones – choked to death by an invisible enemy.

That’s not something I’m willing to accept. I don’t think it’s something any of us are willing to accept.

We must do more. We must go harder. It’s the only way we’ll get to the other side of this.

It’s why from 6pm tonight, Victoria will enter a State of Disaster.  We used this same provision over summer, and as we step-up our fight against this public health bushfire, we need to use it again.

This will give our police additional powers to make sure people are complying with public health directions – more on which we’ll have to say in the coming days.

And from 11:59pm on Wednesday, regional Victoria will return to Stage 3 “Stay at Home” restrictions.

That means there’ll again only be four reasons to be out:  shopping for food and essential items. Care and caregiving. Daily exercise. Work and study – if you can’t do it from home.

Otherwise, you need to stay home.

Businesses in regional Victoria will also return to Stage 3 restrictions.

That means restaurants and cafes can only offer delivery and takeaway. Beauty and personal services will need to close. Entertainment and cultural venues will need to close. Community sport will need to stop.

This we’ll be tough for these businesses and their workers – and we’ll have more to say very shortly about extra support to help get you through.

Face coverings will continue to be compulsory – ensuring that if we do have to be out, it’s in the safest way possible.

The question I know most parents will be asking: regional schools will return to remote and flexible learning – across all year levels and across the state. The only exception will be for our specialist schools.

Onsite supervision will again be made available for students who need it, including children whose parents are permitted workers and vulnerable kids who can’t learn from home.

We know this will be a significant ask of parents with little ones – and big ones too. But I promise, as a parent to three, it’s an ask I don’t make lightly.

These changes will be in place for at least the next six weeks. As always, we’ll keep reviewing and realigning the restrictions in line with the advice of our health experts – and if we can change things earlier, we will.

I know there’ll also be questions about why restrictions are needed in some communities that have no cases.

But as we’ve learnt over the course of thing, just because you have no cases today – doesn’t mean you won’t tomorrow. And when the cost of failure if measured in lives, it’s a risk we cannot afford to take.

I’ve had the job of leading this state for almost six years – more than 2000 days. And today is by far the hardest day – and the hardest decision.

But it is the decision I’ve made to keep our state safe.

The whole way through this, I promised to be upfront. So I’ll say this now. This will be imperfect. And for a little while, there’ll be more questions than answers.

It’s why I’m asking something else of Victorians – please be calm, please be kind, please be patient.

I understand people will feel scared and sad and worried.

But we are Victorians – and we will get through this as Victorians.  With grit, with guts and together.

All the temporary sacrifices we make now – all the time missed with mates, those delayed visits to mum – those sacrifices will help keep our mates and our mums and our fellow Victorians safe.

We can – we will – get through this.

Apart. But together.

                             - statement ends -

Summary of changes announced by the Premier

State of Disaster declared

• From 6pm tonight (Sun 2 Aug), Victoria will enter a State of Disaster. This will give police additional powers to ensure people are complying with public health directions.

Changes to Melbourne’s restrictions

• From 6pm tonight, Melbourne will move to Stage 4 restrictions with stronger rules to limit the movement of people – and limit the spread of the virus across the city.
• A curfew will commence tonight - from 8pm to 5am. The only reasons to leave home during these hours will be work, medical care and caregiving.
• Where you slept last night is where you will need to stay for the next six weeks, there’ll be exemptions for partners who live apart and for work, if required.
• The Night Network will be suspended, and public transport services will be reduced during curfew hours.
• New time, distance and gathering limits will also apply for exercise and shopping.
• Exercise will be limited to a maximum of one hour per day and no more than five kilometres from your home. Group size will be limited to a maximum of two, whether you live with them or not.
• Shopping will be limited to one person per household per day. Again, the five-kilometre rule will apply.
• Study at TAFE and uni must be done remotely.
• From Wednesday at 11:59pm, weddings in Melbourne cannot occur.
• Face coverings will continue to be compulsory.

Changes to regional restrictions

• From 11:59pm on Wednesday (5 Aug), regional Victoria will return to Stage 3 “Stay at Home” restrictions. That means there’ll again only be four reasons to be out:  shopping for food and essential items. Care and caregiving. Daily exercise. Work and study – if you can’t do it from home.
• Businesses in regional Victoria will also return to Stage 3 restrictions. That means restaurants and cafes can only offer delivery and takeaway. Beauty and personal services will need to close. Entertainment and cultural venues will need to close. Community sport will need to stop.
• Face coverings will continue to be compulsory.

Return to remote and flexible learning across the state

• In Melbourne - schools will return to remote and flexible learning – across all year levels. Students who are currently attending onsite – including senior students and those in our specialist schools – will go to school on Monday, have a pupil free day on Tuesday, and be learning at home from Wednesday. Onsite supervision will be offered but tightened – only available for students who really need it.  That means children whose parents are permitted workers and vulnerable kids who can’t learn from home. From Thursday, those same rules will apply to Melbourne’s kinder and early childhood education services.
• In regional Victoria - regional schools will return to remote and flexible learning – across all year levels and across the state. The only exception will be for specialist schools. Onsite supervision will again be made available for students in regional Victoria who need it, including children whose parents are permitted workers and vulnerable kids who can’t learn from home.

The Premier also advised that further announcements will be made tomorrow (Mon 3 Aug) regarding the way Victorians need to work.

For further information on the COVID-19 restrictions and arrangements in Victoria go to: dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus