Ever since we heard there were problems with hotel quarantine at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport and Victoria had the UK strain of the virus which is a lot more contagious and a whole lot more dangerous, everyone feared the worst. And today, their worst fears have been realized. Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a 5-day snap lockdown labelled a “short, sharp circuit breaker” by the Premier in an attempt to contain the outbreak connected to the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel.
Back under stage four restrictions, to take effect from 11.59pm tonight (12 February), this circuit breaker will have the same rules that were in place in August when Melbourne was placed under a 6-week lockdown.
But just in case, here’s what you need to know about the snap lockdown in Victoria.
Leaving the house
From 11.59pm tonight, Friday 12 February until 11.59pm Wednesday, 17 February, Victorians will only be able to leave home for four main reasons:
shopping for food and essential items;
care and caregiving;
daily exercise or recreation; and
work (essential work) which cannot be done from home.
The premier has said if you can work from home, then you must work from home.
How far can I travel from home?
For those essential 4 reasons when you leave home, you must remain within 5km of your home.
If you need to go beyond 5km for something essential / urgent reasons, the test of “common sense” will apply.
You are allowed to go outside for exercise for two hours each day, as long as you stay within 5km of your home, with members of the same household, an intimate partner or one other person.
Outdoor playgrounds will remain open.
Wearing masks is NOW mandatory
You must wear a mask whenever leaving the house.
The only exceptions are:
- Children younger than 12;
- Medical reason; and
- Professional exigencies or requirements.
Those people will still be expected to carry a face covering at all times.
If you break the rules, you may be fined $200 if caught.
From 11.59pm Friday 12 February, visitors are not allowed. Intimate partners are allowed to visit.
Outdoor gatherings are also not permitted.
Schools will be closed from Monday 15 February to Wednesday 17 February, but will remain available for vulnerable children or for the children of those permitted to go to work.
Child care and early childhood centres will remain open.
Universities and TAFEs will be closed.
Restaurant and cafe – Takeaways ONLY
Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to serve takeaway only during the lockdown from 11.59pm 12 February to Wednesday 17 February.
What shops will be open?
Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies and petrol stations are allowed to open for trade subject to limits on the number of people.
Weddings, Funerals & Religious Gatherings
Weddings are NOT allowed during the five-day lockdown.
Funerals will be limited to 10 people.
No other religious gatherings are allowed with places of worship to close except for the purpose of broadcasting services.
If you break the rules…
If you break the rules of this lockdown and you are caught, Victoria Police can issue on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 to businesses for general breaches of the stay-at-home orders.
The Australian Open – Tennis
Although Melbourne is now under a 5-day snap lockdown from midnight tonight, the Australian Open matches will go ahead, with professional athletes considered essential workers, but no spectators will be allowed from Saturday to Wednesday.