Melbourne faces ‘six very difficult weeks’
Nearly five million residents of greater Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are set to enter a very different world from midnight Wednesday, with a new six-week lockdown coming into effect.
On Tuesday Premier Daniel Andrews reinstated stay at home restrictions across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, to the north of the city, to take effect from 11.59pm on July 8.
He announced 191 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday including 154 under investigation.
None of the cases were detected in returned travellers in hotel quarantine in a worrying development showing the virus is established in the community.
There are 772 active coronavirus cases in Victoria and 35 people are in hospital. Nine of those patients are in intensive care.
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THE AREAS AFFECTED
The restricted areas are Mitchell Shire and 31 local government areas across the greater city: Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Mitchell Shire, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra and the Yarra Ranges.
"2020 has not been the year any of us wanted," Mr Andrews said when announcing the news.
"Cancelled events. Plans put on pause. Uncertainty about what the future holds.
"And I guess that's why so many people want to pretend this is over."
He stressed the stay at home direction applies to principal places of residence.
"That means no escaping to holiday homes," Mr Andrews said.
According to a summary of the restrictions, second places of residence outside restricted areas cannot be visited except for limited exceptions such as an emergency or maintenance, shared custody, or to stay with an intimate partner who does not live with you.
The state's chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said Victorians have got "six very difficult weeks ahead".
The new directions are to continue until 11.59pm on August 19.
No one in the impacted areas is allowed to have private gatherings with visitors, and public gatherings are limited to "two people or household members only".
"For people who live in regional Victoria, where case numbers remain low, current restrictions will remain the same for now," Mr Andrews said.
Regional Victorians cannot enter restricted areas except for "necessary purposes" being necessary goods or services, work and education if necessary, medical care or compassionate reasons.
LIMITED REASONS TO MOVE AROUND
The "four reasons to leave" home are to shop for food and other essential items; attend work or school (if it can't be done from home); medical or caregiving; and exercise - though it must be inside the metropolitan area.
"The most discretionary of those four reasons is, in fact, going for what should be daily exercise," Mr Andrews said.
"It is not an opportunity to run a marathon or to be doing a five or six-hour hike hundreds of kilometres away from home and into regional Victoria where there aren't cases. Even if you were to follow all the rules when you were there, if you have the virus it will travel with you. It is just an unacceptable risk."
Due to a surge of #COVID19 cases, from 11.59pm, 8 July 2020, metro Melbourne & Mitchell Shire will revert to Stage 3 restrictions. There are only 4 reasons to leave home:— Jenny Mikakos MP #StayHomeSaveLives (@JennyMikakos) July 7, 2020
🔹food & supplies,
🔹medical care & caregiving,
🔹work or education – if necessary #springst pic.twitter.com/whlbPdPwcL
Exemptions to the "reasons to leave your house" again include "visiting a person with whom you are in an intimate personal relationship", including if they live outside the 31 metropolitan Melbourne LGAs or the Mitchell Shire.
You cannot leave restricted areas for exercise or recreation.
BUSINESSES RETURN TO STAGE 3
A number of businesses and facilities in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be required to close, just weeks after reopening, including beauty and personal care services - aside from hairdressers, cultural and entertainment venues and community facilities.
Restaurants and cafes are to return to operating as "take away only" venues, food courts will be shut, and pubs, bars, clubs and nightclubs are closed with bottle shop and take away only.
Galleries, museums, zoos, outdoor amusements parks and arcades, indoor and drive-in cinemas, concert venues, theatres, auditoriums, arenas and stadiums will all be shuttered.
Community sport will also need to stop. Gyms will have to close but can remain open in regional Victoria.
Sporting activities such as fishing, golf, boating, tennis, surfing and drive range shooting with one other person or household members are allowed proving 1.5m distance can be maintained.
Attending a wedding or funeral is a permitted reason to leave home however weddings are limited to five (a couple, two witnesses and a celebrant) and funerals are capped at 10 plus those conducting the service.
Originally published as Melbourne faces 'six very difficult weeks'