Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has announced that the entire Melbourne Metro area will be placed back into Stage 3 lockdown for 6 weeks, after the state recorded a staggering 191 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.
The lockdown restrictions will come into effect from 11:59pm tomorrow, July 8, and will bring the entire city in-line with 12 “hot spot” postcodes, who were previously placed back under lockdown conditions over the past few days.
Premier Andrews confirmed that the entire Melbourne Metropolitan area, as well as Mitchell Shire north of the city, will be placed under strict Stage 3 lockdown conditions from tomorrow, with restrictions to last for six weeks, until at least August 19th.
During this time, residents will only be permitted to leave the house for four reasons: Shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, work and study (if it cannot be conducted at home), and daily exercise.
Crucially, that exercise reason does not apply to anyone attempting to leave the Melbourne Metropolitan area. Per a press release issued by the Premier, “Unless you’re a local, that means no fishing trips at Lakes Entrance. No four-hour hikes in the Grampians.”
Today’s announcement also includes Stay At Home orders that, quite explicitly, require all people to remain at their primary place of residence. It does not allow people to “escape” to holiday homes at this time.
Internal gatherings are also to be totally ruled out, with zero guests outside of the household permitted.
Year 11 and 12 students, and Year 10 students undertaking VCE subjects, will return to as-normal face-to-face learning from Monday onwards, beginning Term 3 as normal. Prep through non-VCE Year 10 students will have school holidays extended by a week, with officials looking to gain more information from health experts before allowing all students to return to school.
The lockdown conditions also means that pubs and restaurants that have re-opened their doors to patrons in recent weeks will be forced to close once again, with premises only permitted to conduct takeaway operations only. Beauty, entertainment, and cultural venues will also be forced to close, and community sport will once again cease.
“I don’t take this step lightly. And I know just how deeply frustrating this is for everyone,” Premier Andrews said in the statement. “But I’m asking you, please talk to your families. Talk to your friends. Talk to your neighbours. Talk to your communities. This isn’t over. And until there is a vaccine or a drug or a cure, there is no such thing as ‘normal.’”