As yesterday, experts urged the Premier to move swiftly to stage 4 restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 in the community, the number of new case – 671 – and seven more deaths pushed the Premier and Chief Health Officer to act and metropolitan Melbourne has been placed under stage 4 restrictions from 6pm tonight.
“I know how much Victorians want to go back to some semblance of normal – or at least “COVID normal”… They want to be able to get a beer with their mates. To drop round and see mum. And they definitely want an end to these daily updates and their grim new milestones”, a concerned Premier Andrews told media.
“Our health experts tell us the measures we’ve introduced are working. But too slowly”, the Premier said announcing the new restrictions.
While Melbourne metro moves to stage 4, stage 4 restrictions now apply to not just the shire of Mitchell but the rest of Victoria as well.
Obviously the current rate of community transmission – mystery cases that cannot be traced back to work or home – is far too high.
The Premier said experts believe case numbers in the range of 300- 500 per day may continue for months.
“As they (experts) 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.
More Victorians in hospital beds. More Victorians hooked up to machines just to breathe”, the Premier announced.
“And more Victorians – more grandparents, parents, sons, daughters, partners and loved ones – choked to death by an invisible enemy.”
To avoid that, the Premier exhorted all Victorians to do more and work harder.
Thus from 6pm tonight, Victoria will enter a State of Disaster. That gives police additional powers to make sure people are complying with public health directions.
From 6pm tonight, Melbourne will also move to Stage 4 restrictions with stronger rules to limit the movement of people – and limit the spread of this virus across our city.
That includes a curfew – from 8pm to 5am – beginning tonight.
Under stage 4 restrictions, the only reasons to leave home during these hours will be
Where Victorians slept last night will be where they’ll need to stay for the next six weeks. There’ll be exemptions for partners who live apart and for work, if required.
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 – you and one other person – 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.
Of course, there’ll be some common-sense exceptions. If the closest supermarket is further than five kilometres, you can still shop there.
And if you’re a parent with little ones, you can still take them with you when you go for a walk.
These distance, gathering and time limits won’t apply for work, medical care or compassionate reasons.
Study at TAFE and uni will move to remote mode.
From Wednesday at 11:59pm, weddings in Melbourne cannot occur.
Face coverings will continue to be compulsory – ensuring that if we do have to be out, it’s in the safest way possible.
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.
These changes will be in place for at least the next six weeks until Sunday 13 September.