This morning, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed Victoria will go into stage-three lockdown at 11.59pm tonight, after the federal government announced new restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“I’ve got a very simple message today – stay at home,” Andrews said at a press conference this morning. “This is life and death.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced the new measures – which include a two-person limit at all public gatherings and the closure of outdoor gyms, playgrounds and skate parks – at a press conference on Sunday evening.
“You should only be going out to shop for things that you actually need,” Morrison said, before classing essential outings into five categories: food and essential supplies shopping; receiving medical care; exercising; attending work (for those who can’t work remotely); and leaving the house for compassionate reasons.
The two-person limit doesn’t apply to those living together, and excludes workplaces and schools. It does apply to outdoor group-exercise classes and boot camps, and to people visiting your home.
“If you’re having friends over for dinner, or friends over for drinks, that are not members of your household, then you are breaking the law,” Andrews said this morning. “Victoria Police will not hesitate to take action against you. That’s how serious this is.”
He added that anyone found to be breaching the restrictions faces on-the-spot fines of more than $1600.
Those who do leave their homes for essential reasons must follow social distancing guidelines, which include maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres from others at all times and avoiding physical greetings.
Playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks will be closed starting today. Shopping centres, schools and essential businesses can remain open at this stage. A six-month moratorium on rental evictions has also been announced for those under financial stress.
Perhaps most critically, Morrison stressed that “the strong advice” is for the public to stay home unless absolutely necessary. “These arrangements should also apply to those with chronic illness, over 60, and Indigenous persons over the age of 50,” he said.
“Anyone who doesn’t need to be out of their home should be in the home. This is radical,” said Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy, who also took part in last night’s press conference.
“The vast majority of Australians have done the right thing in the last week. We’ve seen huge evidence of that. But we’ve also seen some very silly behaviour of people who haven’t complied with that, particularly outdoors.”