Melbourne lockdown extended as state records 60 local cases

By Our Reporter
Photo courtesy SBS News. Victoria's Acting Premier James Merlino (R) with Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton

With 60 local cases and more than 350 exposure sites, and a variant of the virus that is quicker and more contagious than seen before, the government has announced the extension of the lockdown with small changes.

The government also announced extending financial support to businesses, with an additional $209 million in grants.

Announcing this today, Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino said, “The current restrictions will remain in place in Melbourne for a further seven days, with some small changes. This will give us a full 14 days—one full cycle of the virus—to make sure we understand how and where this mutation is moving.”

For Melbourne, there will still be only five reasons to leave home:

  • shopping for food and supplies
  • authorised work and study
  • care and caregiving,
  • exercise and getting vaccinated

People will be able to travel further for exercise and shopping, with an expanded 10km radius.

Kids in Year 11 and 12 will return to face-to-face learning. That includes students in other year levels who are doing a Unit 3/4 VCE or VCAL subject, while that class is being taught. All year levels and all students will return to face-to-face schooling.

And a number of outdoor jobs will be added to the authorised list—things like landscaping, painting, installing solar panels, or letterboxing.

Other restrictions—including mask wearing—will stay the same.

People from Melbourne cannot travel to regional Victoria over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. The risk of exporting the virus is just too high, Merlino said.

Public gatherings—catching up at a public place like the park or the beach—will be increased to ten people.

Restaurants and cafés can reopen to a maximum of 50. Retail, beauty and personal care, entertainment venues and community facilities will also open in line with density limits.

Religious ceremonies and funerals will be capped at 50, weddings at ten.

Offices will be capped at 50 per cent.

No home visitors and need for masks to be worn inside.

With no community transmission in regional Victoria this week, regional restrictions are proposed to begin easing from 11:59pm tomorrow (Thursday) night. The next 24 hours will be used to continue tracing and testing and confirm that this change can go ahead.

Finally, regional Victorians will be able to travel in regional Victoria. Melburnians will not.

To that end, most businesses that are open in regional Victoria but closed in Melbourne—restaurants or beauty for example—must check the IDs of everyone they serve.

“We’ll also expand our QR requirements to make it mandatory in retail settings like supermarkets and shops. The 15-minute threshold will also be removed so anyone entering a shop or a cafe will need to check-in,” Merlino said.

“The best way to stop the virus is vaccination. But as we know, with only two per cent of the population fully vaccinated—if we let this thing run then cases will explode,” Merlino said.

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