Following a record increase of 723 new coronavirus cases in Victoria overnight, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced new restrictions for Victorians.
As of 11.59pm on Sunday August 2, face masks or face coverings will be mandatory for all Victorians when leaving their homes. That means the regulations currently in place in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will extend to all of regional Victoria, with the same considerations and exemptions to apply.
The news comes despite Andrews stating that active cases in regional Victoria are relatively low.
“It’s something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost, but [with] a really significant public health benefit,” Andrews said in a press conference on Thursday.
Of 255 active cases in regional Victoria, 159 are from Geelong and the Surf Coast.
As a result, from 11.59 on Thursday July 30, residents in Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, Colac, Otway, and Queenscliff will no longer be able to have visitors to their homes.
“You cannot visit friends. They cannot visit you,” Andrews said. “People are not necessarily keeping their distance [from guests] in their family home – it’s a natural thing, you let your guard down [with] hugs and kisses and handshakes.”
Hospitality venues, though, will remain open.
“They’re supervised environments. They’re regulated environments. There are time limits, for instance. They’re in a very different set of circumstances,” the premier said.
“I know that it may seem – as I said – counterintuitive that you can go to the pub, but you can’t go to your mate’s place. But ultimately, that’s where the data drives that decision.”
Andrews stated that people going to work while experiencing Covid-19 symptoms are still driving case numbers up and urged Victorians to isolate if feeling unwell.
“I can understand people are concerned,” he said. “We are all concerned as well. And that’s why the central point, the most important point [is that] you cannot go to work if you’re sick. You simply can’t. All you’ll be doing is spreading the virus and putting people at risk.”