A state of disaster has been declared in Victoria as the state tightens COVID-19 restrictions and implements a nightly curfew in Melbourne.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed Melbourne will to go into strict Stage 4 lockdown from 6pm on Sunday until at least September 13, revealing a strict set of rules for the radical shutdown.
Under new restrictions Melbourne residents must stay home between 8pm and 5am every day, with exemptions for work, receiving medical help or care giving.
Residents are able to exercise with only one other person for a maximum of an hour per day and must remain within five kilometres of their home
Victoria has been declared a state of disaster with tighter restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state. Pictured: two shoppers wear face masks while browsing at South Melbourne Market on Sunday
What Stage 4 lockdown means for you
State of disaster: Increased police powers to enforce the lockdown. Cautions will no longer be issues, only fines or court summons
Curfew: No one allowed outside 8pm to 6am except for work, medical, caregiving – no shopping or exercising
Distance limit: Shopping and exercise can only be done 5km from home
Exercise limits: All recreational activity is banned and you can only exercise, with one other person, for one hour a day
Partners: You can visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t live with you, even if they live more than 5km away
Shopping: Only one person can go shopping per household per day
Cafes and restaurants stay open for takeaway, as do supermarkets, etc
Schools: All students learning from home from Wednesday unless they are vulnerable or parents are essential workers. Kindy and childcare close on Thursday (same exceptions apply)
Funerals: No change to funeral limits, but only 10 mourners can leave Melbourne to regional Victoria for one
Weddings: Completely banned
One shopping outing is allowed per day and can only be done by one member of a household within five kilometres of their home.
Schools will effectively be closed and remote learning will commence for students across the state from Wednesday, with exemptions for special schools and for children of essential workers, who can attend childcare centres.
TAFEs and universities will also be closed with learning to be done remotely.
Weddings will be banned from Thursday, however funerals will still be allowed – with a maximum of 10 people allowed to travel from Melbourne to regional Victoria to attend one.
All recreational sport will be banned through the state of disaster.
Melbourne’s iconic Night Network weekend public transport service will be shut down and the regular public transport will be reduced during curfew hours.
Mr Andrews said police will also be given additional powers to make sure people comply with public health directions.
‘I know Victorians are with me when I say, too many people are not taking this seriously,’ he said.
‘And too many people not taking this seriously means that too many other people are having to plan funerals for those they love.’
The face mask mandate will continue to be in effect across the state, with the changes set to remain until September 13, which is six weeks away.
‘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 that will cause a certain level of anxiety and uncertainty. But the truth is, this is complex – and we’re going to take some extra time to make sure we get these calls right.’
Mr Andrews urged Melburnians not to panic buy products, revealing supermarkets, bottle shops, pharmacies, bakers and butchers would remain open.
The Victorian Premier said declaring a state of disaster on Sunday was the most difficult decision of his political career.
‘I’ve had the job of leading this state for almost six years – more than 2,000 days. And today is by far the hardest day – and the hardest decision,’ he said.
‘But it is the decision I’ve made to keep our state safe.
‘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.’
He said an explosion of ‘mystery cases that cannot be traced back to work or home’ was deeply concerning.
‘As they tell us, based on the current numbers, cases might begin to drop off not in days or weeks – but in months. Months more of lockdown restrictions. Months more of 300, 400, 500 cases a day,’ he said.
‘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.’