Mitchell stays in stage-three restrictions

While metropolitan Melbourne went to increased stage-four restrictions on Sunday night, Mitchell Shire will remain in stage three – joining the rest of regional Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement of increased restrictions across the state on Sunday afternoon, as the entire state was placed under a state of disaster for the next six weeks.

The announcement came a day before Victoria recorded 429 new cases of COVID-19, increasing the state’s total number of cases to 11,937.

Mitchell Shire now has 26 active cases of COVID-19, down one from Sunday.

Case numbers by postcode were made available on Friday: 3756 postcode, Wallan, Darraweit Guim and district, has 10 active cases; 3764, Kilmore, Kilmore East and district, four cases; 3753, Beveridge, four cases; 3658, Broadford and district, has one case; Wandong and Heathcote Junction two; Tallarook one.

Meanwhile Seymour and district, Pyalong and Tooborac have no active cases.

Regional Victoria, including Mitchell Shire and Macedon Ranges Shire, will enter stage- three restrictions from 11.59pm on Wednesday night.

As with the first round of stage three restrictions, people will only have four reasons to leave home: shopping for food and essentials, caregiving, exercise and work or study if it cannot be done from home.

Restaurants and cafes can only offer delivery and takeaway, beauty and personal services will remain closed, entertainment and cultural venues will close and community sport will stop.

Face coverings will also be compulsory when leaving the house.

Regional schools will return to remote learning across all year levels, with specialist schools being the only exception.

On-site supervision will be made available for students who need it, including the children of permitted workers and vulnerable children who cannot learn from home.

Mr Andrews said from the outset of the second wave, the aim had been to protect regional communities.

“By putting a ring around the city, we want to protect the entirety of our state,” he said.

“For the most part, it’s worked. But as we know, this virus doesn’t discriminate, and its only goal is to spread. Based on the current numbers, it’s clear there is a real and growing threat in some regional communities.”

Mr Andrews announced Monday afternoon that retailers in Melbourne will close from 11.59pm Wednesday under stage-four restrictions, along with some manufacturing and some administration while supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, convenience stores, petrol stations and pharmacies are among the businesses allowed to continue operating.

Retail stores will be permitted to operate contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place.

Meatworks will be scaled back across the state, reducing production to one-third of normal while, exclusively in Melbourne, construction will also be scaled back to 25 per cent of staff on commercial building sites and no more than five people on site for residential construction. Large-scale government projects have also been cut in half.

Meatworks workers will also be wearing gloves, masks, gowns and shields at work, will only be allowed to work at one site and will be temperature checked.

Businesses in regional Victoria can apply for a $5000 grant while those in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can apply for up to $10,000 in recognition of spending longer under restrictions.

“This six-week period is absolutely critical. We’ve got to err on the side of doing everything we possibly can to drive these case numbers down,” Mr Andrews said.