Stage four lockdown starts at 6pm Sunday, including a nightly curfew.
Melbourne will move to a strict stage 4 lockdown for six weeks, beginning tonight, as Victoria struggles to control a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections.
Premier Daniel Andrews made the sombre announcement today, ending days of speculation about the state’s inevitable move to tougher restrictions.
Mr Andrews has declared a ‘state of disaster’ that begins at 6pm, giving authorities sweeping powers, that includes a nightly curfew for Greater Melbourne from 8pm to 5am, effective Sunday.
Regional Victoria will enter stage 3 restrictions on Wednesday at midnight, providing just four reasons to leave one’s home – seeking medical care, providing care, buying groceries, and working or learning if it can’t be done remotely.
“Ultimately, all of these changes are about limiting movement,” Mr Andrews said. “All of those changes are act limiting the number of people we come in contact with.”
Victoria has more than 6000 active cases of COVID-19 and today recorded another 671 new infections and seven deaths.
Under the stage 4 rules for Melbourne, people will be restricted to their suburbs, and only allowed to leave home if absolutely necessary, with a significant boost to policing to enforce the ban on movements.
Only one person will be able to leave the home to buy groceries. People cannot travel more than 5km from their residence.
Recreational activities will not be allowed – exercise for no more than an hour, close to home, is permissible. No groups bigger than two will be allowed.
All school students across Victoria will move back to virtual learning at home from Wednesday. Tuesday will be a pupil-free day across the board, meaning Monday marks the final day of traditional schooling.
TAFE and university study state-wide must also now be conducted remotely.
Public transport in Melbourne will be reduced during curfew hours and the entire Night Network will be suspended.
From midnight on Wednesday, weddings will not be able to be held in Melbourne.
Mr Andrews will tomorrow announce restrictions on workplaces, but stressed that essential services will continue.
“Some can continue. Some will have to reduce the amount of work they do. Then there will be others that will close. Just as other businesses have moved to working from home. That will not be easy.
“Tomorrow, I will have more to say about different industries… I want to ensure all Victorians supermarkets, the butcher, the baker, food, beverage, groceries, those types of settings, there will be no impact there.”
“Significant work” is continuing on the exact rules for businesses, he said.
Regional Victoria will move to stage 3 at midnight on Wednesday, including for businesses.
“That means restaurants and cafes can only offer delivery and takeaway. Beauty and personal services will need to close. Entertainment and cultural venues will need to close. Community sport will need to stop.”
Mr Andrews and senior ministers thrashed out the final details of the lockdown at a crisis meeting last night, as daily coronavirus case numbers remain stubbornly high despite stage 3 measures.
Health authorities and police have also struggled with people flouting self-isolation requirements, with hundreds of people who have tested positive not at home when doorknocked.
“Face coverings will continue to be compulsory – ensuring that if we do have to be out, it’s in the safest way possible,” Mr Andrews said.
Victoria recorded 397 cases of coronavirus on Saturday and three more deaths. The number of “mystery” infections that can’t be traced back to an original source is a cause for concern, Mr Andrews said.
More to come…