By Steph McNicol
CHECKING customers’ identification, to ensure they aren’t from metropolitan Melbourne, is now a legal requirement for businesses as the State Government aims to ‘protect the hard work of regional Victorians’.
The new restrictions will aim to protect regional Victoria, as Macedon Ranges Shire sits at zero cases, after a recent outbreak at a Kilmore café when a Melbourne resident dined in at Oddfellows Café while being COVID-positive.
The infectious visit meant five Mitchell residents have tested positive to the virus, while more than 700 people were tested in Kilmore, with about 300 now isolating.
ID checks can include drivers’ licence checks, proof of postcodes or Keypass ID – businesses failing to comply face fines up to $9913.
Businesses targeted by Melbournians purposely disregarding rules will not face penalties, and instead the offenders can face fines of more than $4900 if they have no valid reason for being in regional Victoria.
Glen Erin winery marketing and events manager Amy Scales said the Lancefield venue had originally closed during the first lockdown due to a large reliance on Melbourne-based clientele.
“At the start of the first lockdown, businesses were given a minimum of what we had to do, but a lot of places are doing a lot more,” Ms Scales said.
“We’ve been checking ID, names, phone numbers and postcodes. At first, I think people were sort of wondering, ‘why do you need it?’, but I think they’re more understanding now.
“Where we are at Glen Erin, we’re so adamant about cleanliness and everything is already cleaned thoroughly.
“I went to two restaurants that just weren’t that clean, and at one of them there were eight empty sugar packets on the table, and these are things that should just be cleaned anyway, not just because of COVID-19.
“We actually had a few conversations here wondering if we’re doing too much.”
A change in COVID-19 testing will also aim to further protect Victoria as close contacts of positive cases will be asked to undergo testing on day 11 of their isolation period to halt any possibility of the virus’ spread – even if their initial test returned a negative result.
If the second test is negative, people will receive clearance from the Department of Health and Human Services on or after day 14, after which they can leave their designated address.
“Testing close contacts on day 11 of quarantine is one of a number of important measures we’re taking to limit the spread of coronavirus in Victoria and reduce the risk of further outbreaks,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“We know regional businesses are doing everything they can to keep their community safe – and now we’re giving them the confidence to check that their customers are not breaking chief health officer directions.”