Victorian authorities have been forced to reinstate restrictions after a spike involving 25 new COVID-19 cases.
From midnight tomorrow household gatherings will be restricted to a maximum of five guests down from 20, and public gatherings will have a limit of 10 people.
The planned easing of restrictions for pubs and restaurants to 50 patrons has also been deferred and will remain at 20, however venues will be able to serve alcohol without food. Gyms will still be allowed to open from midnight Sunday, as previously planned. The new rules will come into place from midnight tomorrow and stay in place until midnight on July 12.
Speaking to media on Saturday afternoon, Premier Daniel Andrews and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton urged Victorians to follow these new rules and said the state government would be forced to reconsider reimposed “lockdown” rules if infection rates continue rising.
Mr Sutton issues a strong warning to those who planned on flouting the new rules, stating that there is “no plan B”.
“We have to drive that down and get back to a point where we’ve got very low and potentially no transmission in the community where we can have the absolute confidence of easing restrictions, and getting to a point where we can confidently go about all of the activities that we’ve all been desperate to do for some time,” he said.
The Victorian Premier echoed his sentiments.
“The vast majority of people are doing the right thing and I thank them, I thank them so deeply and profoundly, and I, too, am frustrated by where we find ourselves,” said Premier Andrews. “But that level of frustration will be nothing compared to having to reimpose lockdown-type arrangements if this gets away from us.”
In an effort to hamper community transmissions that could lead to a second wave, Premier Daniels also encouraged Victorians to contact the police assistance line for coronavirus social distancing breaches, stating that “the rules are there to protect everyone”.
Mr Sutton also urged Victorians to understand the ‘seriousness’ of this situation.
“The key point here is you’re not just doing the wrong thing by your own family. You’re doing the wrong thing by every Victorian family,” he said.
When it came to balancing reducing transmissions with restoring the Victorian economy, Premier Andrews said a second wave would be “absolutely catastrophic to our economy”.
Premier Andrews said if figures don’t improve. the state could see a “stay at home order” in which residents would only be able to leave the house for a predetermined amount of reasons.
“That is not a decision that we would take lightly,” he said,
The premier also said that people who are able to work from home will be required to continue to do until the end of this month, labelling it as one of the cabinet’s “greatest concerns”.
“We can’t have hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people to return to the tea room, to shared facilities, to lift wells, to enclosed spaces, not to mention issues around getting to work, particularly those who might seek to use public transport,” he said.
Although Mr Sutton was unable to confirm the details of the most recent cases, he said 14 cases have been linked to known outbreaks from aged care facilities, a H&M store and schools including seven cases linked to the Keilor Downs primary school cluster.