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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Victoria Has Extended Its State of Emergency and State of Disaster for Another Four Weeks

This is the sixth time the State of Emergency has been extended since March.
By Sarah Ward and Samantha Teague
September 13, 2020
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Victoria Has Extended Its State of Emergency and State of Disaster for Another Four Weeks

This is the sixth time the State of Emergency has been extended since March.
By Sarah Ward and Samantha Teague
September 13, 2020
  shares

Back in March, Victoria implemented a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a move it has extended monthly since. So, while originally due to expire at midnight on Monday, April 13, the State of Emergency has been prolonged until May 11, June 20, July 19, August 16 and September 13 — and, now, until October 11.

With the state currently subject to strict restrictions — including stage-four lockdowns in the metropolitan Melbourne area, which will slowly start easing from 11.59pm tonight, Sunday, September 13, as part of a five-step process — this is hardly surprising news. Victoria is also in a declared State of Disaster, which gives police additional powers to ensure Victorians are complying with public health directions, and that has been prolonged until October 11 as well.

Announcing the extensions on Sunday, September 13, Premier Daniel Andrews noted that "while the vast majority of Victorians are doing the right thing and following the directions, these measures give the Chief Health Officer and Victoria Police the powers they need to continue to respond rapidly to the pandemic — in line with the latest data and public health advice".

The State of Emergency declaration allows the state's authorised officers to "act to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health" as directed by Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton. That means restricting movement, preventing entry to premises and venues, and detaining people — measures that have been in place over the past six months as the state responds to the coronavirus.

It's worth noting, however, that extending both the State of Emergency and State of Disaster is separate to Victoria's current roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions. So, it doesn't change those plans — with the first step still coming into effect in metro Melbourne tonight as outlined, and regional Victoria still moving to the second step.

Fines continue to be handed out to folks who breach the restrictions — with the state's on-the-spot financial penalties spanning up to $4659 for individuals if you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms and are awaiting test results, but fail to isolate at home. People who repeatedly break the rules can also be sent to the Magistrates Court and fined up to $20,000.

To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Victoria and how to protect yourself, head to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.

Published on September 13, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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