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02 August 2020
People living in regional Victoria, including the Wimmera, Mallee and Grampians regions, will move to Stage-3 COVID-19 restrictions for six weeks from midnight Wednesday for six weeks.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the changes to the restrictions today.
"People in regional Victoria can only go out for four reasons from Wednesday, shopping, work, health and exercise," he said.
Metropolitan Melbourne will move to Stage-4 from 6pm tonight.
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Mitchell Shire will stay at Stage-3.
The premier also announced a State of Disaster for the state giving emergency-service additional powers to combat the pandemic.
Regional Victorian students will return to remote and flexible learning from Wednesday. Some students, whose parents work in emergency services or have other special circumstances will be able to attend school.
"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," Mr Andrews said.
Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will also have a curfew enforced meaning from 8pm tonight and 5am for the next six weeks the only reason people can be out of the home during those times is for care giving or receiving, or work.
The premier will announce more detailed restrictions for business tomorrow.
The state has 671 new cases, 649 health care workers in total of 6322 active cases, 328 cases outside metro area and 38 in intensive care.
Here is the Premier's statement for regional Victoria.
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.