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Ring of steel tightens ahead of COVID-19 restriction easing in regional Victoria

3AW News

The ring of steel around metropolitan Melbourne has been beefed up ahead of the easing of lockdown rules in regional Victoria tonight.

And a new rule has been introduced, with anybody caught trying to leave the metro area and head to regional and country Victoria to receive a $4957 fine.

“We do not want regional and rural communities put at risk,” deputy commissioner Rick Nugent said while announcing the new rule.

Police and ADF personnel are doing more checks on cars crossing the border from Melbourne to regional Victoria, in a bid to curb an expected exodus of city residents seeking looser restrictions.

Eddie, who drives from Torquay to Melbourne daily, said he noticed the change last night.

“Last night was the first time I’ve had a queue of over two kilometres going to Geelong,” he told Ross and Russel.

Regional Victoria will move to the Third Step in the reopening roadmap at 11.59pm tonight.

“I am so, so pleased and proud of every single regional Victorian,” Premier Daniel Andrews said while announcing the change.

WHAT CHANGES IN REGIONAL VICTORIA

  • LEAVING HOME: The four reasons to leave home will no longer apply
  • GATHERINGS:
    • Gathering limits will increase to 10 people outdoors
    • The household bubble will be introduced – up to five visitors allowed in the home from another nominated household
  • WORK: Most workplaces will reopen
  • SCHOOL: School to return with a staggered start over the past two weeks of Term Four
  • RETAIL: Retail will be expanded to include personal services such as beauty and tattooing, where a mask can be worn
  • REAL ESTATE: Outdoor auctions will be permitted with a 10 person limit
  • SPORT:
    • All community sport returns for children
    • Non-contact sport returns for adults
    • Outdoor skateparks open
    • Outdoor fitness opens for up to 10 people
  • WEDDINGS: Gathering limits for weddings increase to 10 people, including the couple, two witnesses and a celebrant
  • FUNERALS: Funeral mourner limits increase to 20, not including people required to conduct the funeral (infants under 12 months not included in mourner limit)
  • RELIGIOUS GATHERINGS: Outdoor religious gatherings increase to up to 10 people plus one faith leader
  • TOURIST ACCOMMODATION: Tourist accommodation reopens for regional Victorians to travel and holiday within regional Victoria
  • RESTAURANTS:
    • Indoors: Indoor venues may open with a cap of 10 seated patrons per space, subject to the one person per four square metre rule. A maximum of two such spaces may seat diners, so indoor seating capacity is limited at 20
    • Outdoors: A cap of 50 seated patrons per space, subject to one person per two square metres rule. Groups will be limited to 10, and tables must be 1.5 metres apart

An announcement on stricter border checks on the outskirts of metropolitan Melbourne and tougher penalties for Melburnians trying to travel to regional Victoria without a permitted reason is expected tomorrow.

Press PLAY below for the Premier’s announcement.

Image: Asanka Ratnayake / Getty

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