New rules country Victoria must adhere to for lockdown 6.2

While the rain might've been enough to keep children away from Sale Botanic Gardens yesterday morning, local playgrounds must be shut until at least September 2 to bring the regions into line with metropolitan restrictions. Photo: Sarah Luke

PERMITS for authorised work and childcare, closed playgrounds, construction site limits and children wearing masks are a few of the stricter settings regional Victoria must adhere to under lockdown 6.2.
As the regions rejoin their metropolitan counterparts in lockdown, there are a few notable changes from settings in place when country Victoria was last in hard lockdown a week ago.
While there is no curfew locally, regional Victoria falls under Melbourne’s other tightened restrictions until at least 11.59pm next Thursday, September 2.
There are only five reasons to leave the home statewide: to get food and essential supplies, to exercise for up to two hours, for care or caregiving, authorised work or education if unable to do so from home, or to get vaccinated at the nearest possible location.
The five kilometre radius is back, and people must exercise and shop within that five kilometres, unless their closest supermarket is further away.
Regional hospitality is now takeaway only again, and schools have returned to online learning.
As well as the long list of businesses that must close every lockdown — such as accommodation, entertainment venues, non-essential retail, hairdressing and beauty salons and tourism operators — all childcare centres across Victoria are now closed, except to children whose parents are authorised workers and cannot be supervised at home, and to vulnerable children.
Authorised workers’ permits are now required to leave the house for work, and it is the employer’s responsibility to issue the staff a permit.
The permit also allows parents and guardians to access childcare, kindergarten and early education centres.
Home visits are still banned, as they have been since May 28.
Face masks are still mandatory outdoors and indoors unless an exception applies – including all workplaces and secondary schools — and masks cannot be removed to drink alcoholic beverages.
Victoria’s public health team has issued a “strong recommendation” primary school aged children wear a mask when they are not at home.
Workforce limits now apply to the construction industry, with staffing reduced to 25 per cent or five workers on site, whichever is higher.
Playgrounds, basketball hoops, skate parks and outdoor exercise equipment are closed.
Exercise is limited to just one other person, plus dependants if they can’t be left at home.
Premier Daniel Andrews gave regional Victoria just two hours’ warning before it was plunged into lockdown, but said positive cases in Shepparton had travelled to Bendigo and beyond.
“… there is a very significant risk of transmission right across Victoria, not just in the Goulburn Valley area,” he said in announcing the lockdown.
“This virus has made its way from Sydney to New Zealand for heaven’s sake, therefore we shouldn’t be having any of these debates about whether the whole of country Victoria is at risk.
“The judgement of our public health experts is that it should be state-wide, and on that basis, that lockdown, those five reasons to leave will apply to all of regional Victoria, just as it applies to Melbourne.”
The age demographic of this outbreak is different to the state’s other outbreaks, with about 80 per cent of active cases aged below 40 and about 25 per cent under the age of nine.
Cases currently in hospital include people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
Health Minister Martin Foley said he knew having childcare centres closed would be difficult for parents already juggling so much but “with so many young children in this outbreak contracting the virus, we need to do more to protect them and their families”.
There are more than 390,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments available during the next four weeks.
The government urged all eligible Victorians to book theirs today.
“While the Commonwealth have advised they will be opening Pfizer eligibility to over 18s from August 30, we strongly suggest that Victorians who have already booked in for their Astra Zeneca vaccine, do not cancel that appointment,” the government said in a statement.
“The best vaccine you can get is the one that you can get today.”
Those with questions or concerns should speak with their GP, pharmacist or to a senior immuniser at a clinic or state-run site.
All Victorians are encouraged where possible to book their vaccination appointment by visiting portal.cvms.vic.gov.au or by phoning the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
Local police are also reminding people while they should stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, they are aware it is not the safest place for everybody.
Those who are at the risk of harm, or whose children are at risk of harm, can leave home to seek support and assistance.
Police will not fine victims who leave to escape any type of family violence, whether this comes in the form of physical or psychological abuse.
Family violence frontline services, including crisis accommodation, continue to operate.
For consultation with a family violence specialist, phone the safe steps Family Violence Response Centre on 1800 015 188, or email or web chat via www.safesteps.org.au
In an emergency, phone 000.