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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Melburnians Can Now Drive within Their Five-Kilometre Bubble to Exercise

The DHHS has revised its guidelines overnight following public backlash against the no-drive rule.
By Libby Curran
August 20, 2020
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Melburnians Can Now Drive within Their Five-Kilometre Bubble to Exercise

The DHHS has revised its guidelines overnight following public backlash against the no-drive rule.
By Libby Curran
August 20, 2020
  shares

It's become the question of the week: can you drive to go exercise if you stick within your approved five-kilometre radius of home? Just a few days ago, Victoria Police doubled down on the DHHS' original directives forbidding driving to exercise during stage four restrictions. Now, health officials have loosened the rules ever so slightly, with new guidelines brought into effect overnight.

On Monday, August 17, a post to the Eyewatch - Port Phillip Police Service Area Facebook page provided a firm reminder that "travelling in a vehicle to exercise is NOT permitted." Victoria Police made the announcement after noticing widespread misunderstanding of the rule by residents, aiming to clear up confusion by reiterating the DHHS' own words and warning of potential fines for anyone flouting the directives.

The response was heated, with the post quickly garnering over 4200 comments from locals, many of which voiced their dissatisfaction with the no-drive mandate. Many commenters seemed to be discovering the rule for the first time, while others were quick to criticise it, saying it was "ridiculous" people could drive five kilometres to shop, but not for exercise.

Now, it seems the wave of opposition has not only caught the attention of Victorian health experts, but prompted them to revise their original advice. "Every Victorian must follow the directions of the Chief Health Officer — that includes taking your daily exercise at the closest practicable location within 5km of home," a DHHS spokesperson said in a statement today.

The Eyewatch - Port Phillip Police Service Area Facebook page has removed its earlier post and published a new one confirming the rule revision. It says the move came after the Chief Health Officer discussed the rule changes with Victoria Police.

🚗 DRIVING IN ORDER TO EXERCISE - UPDATED INFORMATION ❗️From midnight tonight, the restriction that previously meant...

Posted by Eyewatch - Port Phillip Police Service Area on Wednesday, 19 August 2020

On the DHHS' Q&A-style factsheet regarding exercise during stage four, it has updated its response to the question, "Can I drive to a park within 5km of home for exercise?" The answer, as of this morning, Thursday, August 20: "Yes, you can drive to a location such as a park or running track within 5km of your home to exercise. You cannot drive more than 5km from your home to exercise. You can exercise with one other person. This can be a person you live with or a friend or family member." Earlier, the department's response was a firm no.

Police will stop enforcing the previous no-drive rule immediately and the Chief Health Officer's Direction is set to be updated from Friday.

For more information about exercising during stage four, head to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.

Published on August 20, 2020 by Libby Curran

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