If you’re planning on trying to yeet off to regional Victoria to make the most of their eased restrictions, you might want to rethink that because a new $5000 fine will be introduced from midnight on Wednesday.

As restrictions continue to ease for our regional mates, the Victorian government is introducing a new “failure to comply with a requirement to remain in a restricted area” offence to prevent people potentially spreading the virus back into regional areas. The new offence will carry a $4957 fine.

“That is quite a significant fine and clearly aimed to deter people from the Melbourne metro area [travelling to regional areas],” Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner of regional operations Rick Nugent said. “We don’t want the virus to spread again in the rural areas.”

Metropolitan residents are still allowed to travel to regional Victoria to visit intimate partners, but have been warned that they must still comply with the metropolitan restrictions. This means that if you’re visiting your boyfriend in Geelong, you can’t go out for dinner or get your haircut, despite being in a regional area.

“We will be checking for potential travellers, campers, caravaners and restaurants, bars and cafes, hairdressers, beauty salons and other outlets.”

Basically, if you’re from Melbourne, you will only be allowed into regional Victoria if you have a valid reason for being there. And if you’re caught trying to do the wrong thing, you’ll be up for nearly $5000 worth of fines.

“We absolutely have a role in this to ensure those deliberately, blatantly breaching restrictions are caught and appropriately fined,” the Deputy Commissioner said.

The fine is issued on a per-person basis, so if you and your best mate are trying to cross into regional Victoria, you could be up for nearly $10,000 worth of fines collectively.

The new fine coincides with regional Victoria’s move to step three in the government’s roadmap to a COVID-normal from 11.59pm on Wednesday night.

Image: Getty Images / Asanka Ratnayake