Regional Victoria Is Going Back Into Lockdown Due to Rising COVID-19 Case Numbers
With new COVID-19 cases identified in regional Victoria in recent days, the rest of the state will join Melbourne in lockdown from 1pm today.
Less than two weeks after being released from the state's current lockdown — a lockdown that has been extended in Greater Melbourne until at least 11.59pm on Thursday, September 2 — regional Victoria is going back under stay-at-home conditions. From 1pm today, Saturday, August 21, the rest of the state will join the Victorian capital in lockdown. At present, regional areas will be under stay-at-home rules until 11.59pm on Thursday, September 2 as well.
Announcing the news at Victoria's daily COVID-19 press conference, Premier Daniel Andrews said that "sadly the public health team have advised that given the Shepparton outbreak and the fact that at least one person travelled to Bendigo and potentially others travelled beyond, there is a very significant risk of transmission right across regional Victoria and not just in that Goulburn Valley area." Accordingly, "from 1pm today, all of regional Victoria will move to the same lockdown conditions as exist in Melbourne right now, with one important exception — the curfew will not operate in regional Victoria."
The move comes after Victoria reported 61 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to midnight last night, and has already identified 16 more cases that'll be included in tomorrow's numbers.
To keep Victorians safe, and on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, from 1pm today Regional Victoria will enter lockdown and additional measures will come into effect in Metro Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/YY6oeOGHYA
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 21, 2021
Regional Victoria has been in and out of lockdown over the past few months, including not only at the beginning of Melbourne's current lockdown in early August but also during the state's July lockdown as well. As a result, the stay-at-home rules should be familiar to folks who live in regional parts of the state, including the return of the five permitted reasons to leave your home: to shop for what you need, when you need it; for caregiving and compassionate reasons; to undertake essential work or permitted eduction that can't be done from home; for exercise; and to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Once again, regional Victorians must stay within five kilometres of their homes, too, unless you're leaving for permitted work or you're shopping for essentials if there are no shops in your radius.
During the period that Melbourne remained in lockdown but regional Victoria didn't, some lockdown rules were tightened, and all of these restrictions except the overnight curfew will also apply throughout the rest of the state from 1pm today. That means that exercise must be limited to two hours a day with one other person, plus any dependents you both have, even if you live in a larger household. Also, playgrounds, basketball hoops, skate parks and outdoor exercise equipment are now required to close as well.
Plus, authorised work permits will be reimplemented in regional Victoria, effective from 11.59pm on Monday, August 23. So, if you need to leave your home for authorised work, you have to get a permit to do so.
Reported yesterday: 61 new local cases and 0 new cases acquired overseas.
- 29,539 vaccine doses were administered
- 45,670 test results were received
More later: https://t.co/lIUrl1hf3W#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData
— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) August 20, 2021
Masks are required everywhere outside of your house, and you now can't take them off to drink alcohol outdoors.
Private gatherings remain banned, just like during regional Victoria's last lockdown, and so are public gatherings. But, while you can't have any visitors enter your home in general, there are single bubbles, and intimate partner visits are allowed. So, if you live alone, you can form a bubble with another person or see your other half.
Weddings are not permitted, unless on compassionate grounds, while funerals are limited to ten. Hairdressing and beauty services, indoor physical recreation and sport venues, swimming pools, community facilities including libraries, entertainment venues and non-essential retail venues will all close again — and hospitality venues will once again revert back to takeaway-only.
Supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open — and professional sports can proceed, but without crowds.
All of the current stay-at-home rules also remain in effect in Melbourne, obviously.
As always, Victorians can keep an eye on the local list of exposure sites at the Department of Health website — it will keep being updated if and when more sites are identified.
For those looking to get tested, you can find a list of testing sites including regularly updated waiting times also on the Department of Health website.
And, has remained the case throughout the pandemic, Victorians should be looking out for coughs, fever, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, or loss of smell or taste, symptoms-wise.
Regional Victoria will go back into lockdown from 1pm on Saturday, August 21 until at least 11.59pm on Thursday, September 2. For more information about the rules that'll be in place during that time, head to the Victorian Department of Health website.
Top image: Mattinbgn via Wikimedia Commons.
Published on August 21, 2021 by Sarah Ward