A curfew has been reintroduced to Melbourne and metropolitan lockdown restrictions extended for two weeks as the State Government battles to keep the latest outbreak of COVID-19 under control.
At a press conference today, Premier Daniel Andrews said ongoing levels of community transmission of the virus were too high, necessitating the curfew and lockdown restriction.
From tonight, people living in metropolitan Melbourne, including the City of Whittlesea, will be unable to leave their houses between 9pm and 5am except in the case of emergencies.
Regional Victoria, which includes Mitchell and Macedon Ranges shires, will be unaffected by the changes.
Under the strengthened restrictions playgrounds, basketball hoops, skate parks and outdoor exercise equipment will now be closed. People will not be able to remove their masks to drink alcoholic beverages in public.
Exercise will be limited to just two people, plus dependants if they cannot be left at home.
Permits will be required to leave the house for authorised work, consistent with arrangements that were in place last year.
Additional restrictions will also apply to the construction industry, again operating as it did last year with staffing reductions in place except for critical infrastructure and emergency repairs.
Authorised workers will be required to carry permits when working, and when travelling for work, from 11:59pm tonight. The permits need to be certified by an employer.
Permits will also need to be carried by higher education students who are on an authorised provider list.
Mr Andrews said incidents that occurred in Melbourne over the weekend – with people congregating on footpaths with no social distancing for pub crawls, different families meeting in parks and large groups of people visiting other households – were unacceptable.
“These restrictions are hard work for every Victorian. Everyone wants this pandemic to be over, but the rules are in place for a reason – we know they work and if we follow them together, we’ll be able to lift them sooner,” he said.