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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Victoria Police Has Reminded Melburnians They Can't Drive within Their Five-Kilometre Bubble to Exercise

A Victoria Police social media post about the rule has garnered over 4000 comments, highlighting the confusion around some of the new regulations.
By Libby Curran
August 19, 2020
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Victoria Police Has Reminded Melburnians They Can't Drive within Their Five-Kilometre Bubble to Exercise

A Victoria Police social media post about the rule has garnered over 4000 comments, highlighting the confusion around some of the new regulations.
By Libby Curran
August 19, 2020
  shares

UPDATE: AUGUST 20, 2020 — Following backlash around the no-drive rule, the DHHS has updated its guidelines and, as of Thursday, August 20, Melburnians are able to drive within their five-kilometre bubble to exercise. To read the updated rules, head to the DHHS website.

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Many Melburnians have been actively sticking to the stage four rules when it comes to that allowed daily hour of exercise, limiting their movements to within five kilometres of home as the state tries to curb its COVID-19 cases. But a post this week by Victoria Police's bayside-focused social media pages has highlighted confusion around some of the new regulations, mainly about the question: are you allowed to drive to a park or beach within your five-kilometre radius to exercise?

On its Eyewatch - Port Phillip Police Service Area Facebook page on Monday, August 17, Victoria Police answered the question with a firmly worded post, saying, "Driving to exercise — not permitted". It goes on to say: "It has come to our attention that there is some misunderstanding in relation to whether or not it is permitted, under Stage 4 restrictions, to drive to a park within 5km of your home for exercise. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, travelling in a vehicle to exercise is NOT permitted."

🚗 DRIVING TO EXERCISE - NOT PERMITTED ❌It has come to our attention that there is some misunderstanding in relation to...

Posted by Eyewatch - Port Phillip Police Service Area on Sunday, 16 August 2020

But the reminder has sparked a heated response from the public, attracting over 4200 comments in the space of just a couple of days. Many commenters seemed to be discovering the rule for the first time, while others voiced their disapproval, saying it was "ridiculous" people could drive five kilometres to shop, but not for exercise. Some questioned the level of risk posed by someone journeying in their car, instead of walking on the footpath.

Regardless of the debate, Victoria Police confirmed it is patrolling to ensure Melburnians follow the stage four directives. It's probably worth a reminder here that you can be slapped with a $1652 on-the-spot fine if you're caught flouting the restrictions.

If you jump on to the DHHS' Q&A-style factsheet regarding exercise during stage four, you'll see its own clear-cut response to the question, "Can I drive to a park within 5km of home for exercise?" The answer: "No. Travelling in a vehicle to exercise is not permitted."

As outlined by Victoria Police in the above post and repeated by DHHS, there is one exception to this rule: "If is not reasonably practicable to exercise without driving somewhere, e.g. for mobility or safety reasons."

For more information about exercising during stage four, and the Victorian Government's advice for metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire residents, head to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.

Image: Albert Park via Jessica Cross/Flickr.

Published on August 19, 2020 by Libby Curran

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