Smile Buffalo COVID-19 cases

Household guests cut to 15 (from 30), mask use indoors mandatory

With three new cases testing positive in Victoria yesterday, which broke the 61 days consecutive stretch of NO NEW cases in Victoria, the state government has announced new coronavirus restrictions from 5:00pm tonight, limiting private home gatherings to 15 (from 30) visitors and making mask use indoors mandatory.

Dependents more than one year old are counted among the 15 household visitors.

From 5:00PM today, masks will be mandatory for Victorians when indoors at any location when they are not home.

“We certainly do apologise to people who have put plans in place, who were looking forward to having events … but this is a necessary step, it’s on the advice that we’ve received overnight,” Acting Premier Jacinta Allan has said.

New Year celebrations in Melbourne CBD
The government says the only people who had already made reservations at a hospitality venue, should be travelling into Melbourne’s CBD for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is regularly updating a list of public exposure sites on its website, which so far includes:

  • National Golf Club, The Cups Drive at Cape Schanck, on December 30 between 11:40am and 1:30pm
  • Century City Walk and Mocha Jo’s in Glen Waverley between 1:30pm and 5:00pm on December 28
  • Katialo restaurant in the Eaton Mall at Oakleigh between 7:00pm and 8:15pm on December 28
  • Mentone/Parkdale Beach at Mentone between 10:00am and 4:30pm on December 27
  • Holy Family Parish Doveton between 4:00pm and 6:00pm on December 26
  • Kmart, Big W, Target, Millers, King of Gifts and Lo Costa stores at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre on December 26 between 9:00am and 11:00am
  • Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant at Black Rock on December 21

Anyone who visited any of the above locations during the times indicated must get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Jeroen Weimar, DHHS COVID-19 response commander said those three cases had done the right thing by coming forward and being tested as soon they experienced symptoms, allowing authorities to discover the cluster.

Anyone who has visited a growing list of exposure sites in Melbourne’s east and south-east is being urged to get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.

“We’ve currently contacted 52 close contacts of those three individuals,” he said.

“Those close contacts are across a wide area of Melbourne… and also include people in Leongatha and in Barwon Heads.”

After three of those close contacts tested positive, the total number of recorded community cases has risen to six.

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He confirmed contact tracers would be reaching out to contacts of those close contacts today and asking them to get tested and quarantine for 14 days and observe restrictions.

Cases linked to restaurant in Melbourne’s south-east

According to the acting premier Ms Allan yesterday’s all three cases had either a direct or indirect link to the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant at Black Rock on December 21.

“One that night, one case and two close contacts of cases attended this restaurant, as did a returned traveller from New South Wales,” she said.

Ms Allan said the NSW traveller was being tested as a matter of urgency.

Health authorities said strong record keeping by the Black Rock restaurant allowed contact tracers to quickly find and isolate customers who may have been exposed to the virus.

In addition to introducing restrictions, Victorians are being urged to leave all parts of NSW immediately.

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