BREAKING NEWS: Melbourne to enter a stage four lockdown for six weeks, effective tonight

BREAKING NEWS: Melbourne to enter a stage four lockdown for six weeks, effective tonight

Words by Kate Streader

The new restrictions will come into effect from 6pm Sunday August 2.

As Melbourne continues its struggle to gain control over community transmission rates, resulting in hundreds of new COVID-19 cases daily, Premier Dan Andrews has announced a stage four lockdown for the metropolitan area, set to come into effect at 6pm on Sunday August 2.

Melbourne will move from its current State of Emergency status to a State of Disaster in accordance with the new lockdown.

671 new cases have been recorded since yesterday’s COVID-19 update, 598 of which are still under investigation. As of today, there are 760 active “mystery cases” in which the source of transmission cannot be identified.

The lockdown will see Melbourne move to an ‘elimination’ strategy, much like New Zealand’s successful strict lockdown model.

Recreational activity will no longer be allowed under the new restrictions. One hour of exercise will be permitted per day, as long as a mask is worn. Melburnians will not be allowed to exercise in groups of more than two, including members of the same household, and must remain within a 5km radius of their home at all times.

The 5km rule will apply for all essential outings, including grocery shopping. Only one person will be able to go grocery shopping once per day from each household.

“These are big steps, but they are necessary,” said Andrews.

From 8pm tonight, a curfew will be introduced from 8pm until 5am daily for the duration of the lockdown. The only acceptable reasons for not being at home during these hours will be to give or receive care or to work. Police will be out during curfew hours performing checks on anyone who is not at home.

All schools statewide will be required to move to a distanced learning model for the duration of the lockdown, as of Wednesday August 5.

Unlike the New Zealand lockdown, Melbourne’s new rules will allow cafes and restaurants to continue offering takeaway and delivery.

There will be another announcement tomorrow around work, with “significant changes” to come for businesses.

While essential services such as hospitals, grocery stores, bakers, butchers, etc will remain open, all other businesses will either close down entirely if unable to operate in a work from home capacity, or they will need to reduce the number of staff working and their hours.

Tomorrow’s announcement will also include details around police enforcement and fines.

Regional Victoria will enter a stage three lockdown from midnight Wednesday August 5.

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