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Face Masks Will Be Mandatory for All of Victoria as the State Records 723 New COVID-19 Cases

And Victorians in six new local government areas — outside of metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire — will no longer be allowed any visitors in their homes.
By Samantha Teague
July 30, 2020
By Samantha Teague
July 30, 2020

Since Wednesday, July 22, residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire — which is currently in lockdownhave been required to wear face masks or face coverings whenever they leave their homes. From 11.59pm, on Sunday, August 2, the same rule will apply for all of regional Victoria.

The announcement comes as Victoria today, Thursday, July 30, records 723 new COVID-19 cases — the state's highest-ever daily total. While most of the new cases are concentrated in the metropolitan and Mitchell Shire regions, regional Victoria currently has 255 active cases. To help keep these numbers relatively low, Premier Daniel Andrews is making face masks mandatory for all.

"We have low numbers in regional Victoria, and we want to jealously guard that," said the Premier. "These are preventative steps, they're an abundance-of-caution approach, if you like. It will be inconvenient for some, but at the end of the day, keeping those numbers very, very low is about protecting public health, protecting vulnerable people, protecting every family, but also protecting the economic benefits that also come from having regional Victorian case numbers very low."

Under the new rules, residents in regional Victoria will be required to wear a mask whenever they leave home. There are a small number of exemptions when face masks are not required — such as for children under 12, when doing strenuous exercise and when hosting a live broadcast — which we've broken down in detail over here. If you don't have a mask or covering on, you could be slapped with a $200 fine.

As well as masks, a second restriction is being introduced for six local government areas surrounding the 'Geelong corridor'. From 11.59pm tonight (Thursday, July 30), residents of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains and the Borough of Queenscliffe will no longer be allowed any visitors in their homes, which is down from five.

For the metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, the areas under lockdown, the Premier has reiterated that you must stay home if you have symptoms and you must stay home after you've been tested. "Too many people are still going to work when they have symptoms. Too many people are going to work, even some when they have a positive test result," the Premier said. "People that are between having the test taken and getting the results, they are still presenting to work. And for so long as that continues, then we will continue to see numbers go up."

The Victorian Government is currently offering both $300 and $1500 hardship payments for workers isolating after a test who won't have any income while they do, and aren't entitled to paid sick leave, special pandemic leave or other income support.

For more information about the status of COVID–19 in Victoria, head to the Department of Health and Human Services website

Published on July 30, 2020 by Samantha Teague
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