Victorian government offers $1500 payout to stay home

Victorian authorities have announced a new cash incentive to encourage people who are sick to stay at home after a new spike in cases forced the reintroduction of restrictions amid fears of a second wave.

The dramatic escalation in cases, with a further 25 new coronavirus cases recorded in the past days, were partly blamed on people who knew they were infected but continued to work and socialise.

The government are now offering people a $1500 incentive to stay at home if they know they’re sick.

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The $1,500 payment is part of a Hardship Fund aimed at covering people who can’t rely on sick leave.

“This is about making sure there’s no financial reason for these people not to isolate and to go to work themselves,” Premier Andrews said in a statement on Saturday.

“People are, sadly, making the choice that public health is less important than the welfare and survival, in a financial sense, of their family,” the premier said.

“They’re wrong to make that judgment but I can appreciate that is a judgment that is being made.”

He said workers who can work from home must do so until the end of July, and businesses need to have a “zero-tolerance approach to sickness”.

The state will reintroduce restrictions after recording another 25 new coronavirus cases in last past day, with concerns that a second wave of COVID-19 is possible.

From midnight today household gatherings will be restricted to a maximum of five guests, and public gatherings will have a limit of 10 people.

And the planned easing of restrictions for pubs and restaurants next week has also been deferred.

Mr Andrews said the new cases included “large family outbreaks” where the virus was spread among people in a household, and then to others in the community.

“If you are sick, do not go out. If you are sick, do not go out,” Mr Andrews said. “You’re putting the rest of Victoria at risk. That is not right.”

Mr Andrews also said authorities would be checking on households personally to make sure they were doing the right thing.

“We will also go door-to-door not just in getting good public health advice out to people, we’ll go door-to-door if we have to make sure people are doing the right thing,” Mr Andrews said.

Those restrictions could include going back to restricting the reasons why people can go outside.

Victoria’s concerning rise in coronavirus cases this week had authorities vigilant as the next step to ease restrictions looms.

Gyms, cinemas, indoor sports centres and concert venues were scheduled to reopen on Monday while cafes, restaurants and pubs will increase capacity from 20 people to 50.

But Victorians may have to wait a little bit longer for their state to go back to normal.

The new rules will come into place from midnight tonight and stay in place until midnight on July 12.

Those restrictions could include going back to restricting the reasons why people can go outside.

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