Restrictions return

AFTER a gradual increase in active COVID-19 cases in the Macedon Ranges there are now 28 active cases, and Mayor Cr Janet Pearce has urged residents to ‘stay safe’.

By postcodes, the number of identified cases are located in Riddells Creek, two; 3442, Woodend and district, two; Monegeeta, two; 3434, Lancefield and district, two; Diggers Rest, three; 3437, Gisborne, Gisborne South, Bullengarook, five; and Kyneton and district, one.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday a State of Disaster across Victoria, which will mean regional Victoria will return to stage-three stay-at-home restrictions, while Melbourne is on stage four lockdown with a curfew.

For regional Victorians, including residents of Macedon Ranges Shire, it will mean there are only four reasons to leave home: shopping for essentials; providing or receiving care; exercise; and work or study if it can’t be done from home.

Stage three restrictions will start at 11.59pm Wednesday.

Some businesses will need to close, such as beauty services, and cafes, bars and restaurants will be limited to takeaway only.

For metropolitan Melbourne, stage four restrictions will mean a significant change in retail operations and a large scale-back of construction and manufacturing jobs.

“Truthfully, I never thought I’d find myself in a position where I’d have to ask people not to go to work,” Mr Andrews said.

“But if we’re serious about driving this thing down – and we absolutely must be – we need to take unprecedented steps in limiting the movement of people, and therefore limiting the movement of this virus.”

Most students will move to remote learning, unless their parents are essential workers and need them to physically attend the school.

Cr Pearce reminded residents masks or face coverings were now mandatory in Macedon Ranges Shire, unless people had an approved exemption, when leaving the home.

“We all know that face masks are mandatory in regional areas, and that’s our shire. Council has already been making that compulsory in our offices for the last week,” she said.

Cr Pearce said masks were one of the ways residents could help slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Physical distancing; good hand hygiene; if you’re unwell seek advice, self-isolate and get tested; it’s all a part of considering your actions and how they affect others,” she said.

“Maybe you’d like to consider supporting some of the community groups, not-for-profits and individuals, who are making masks in our shire as well.”

The mayor said the Recovery Operations Centre was still open and operating, and advice and support was available from a range of community health groups and organisations.

“We’re working together with community health groups, community organisations and volunteer organisations, so please contact us,” Cr Pearce said.

“The councillors are having a virtual meeting forum for community on Wednesday, August 5. Check out the website and stay safe.”