More than 300,000 Melburnians are facing a month of tougher restrictions from tonight as coronavirus spreads through the city’s north and west.
And while some lockdown suburbs are major hotspots for the deadly virus, others haven’t recorded a single case.
Speaking to reporters this morning, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews explained why some suburbs had to deal with a lockdown despite their neighbourhood managing to avoid a second wave.
“Let’s be very clear about this, the decisions about where these lockdowns would be applied is a matter of public health. It’s not as if I sat down with a map and drew these boundaries,” Mr Andrews said.
“They have been drawn by our public health experts based on data.
“The other thing here too — this is a legally enforceable lockdown and you need to have the most certain lines on the map. People know which postcode they live in. There can be no confusion about that.
“What’s more, there are hard lines that are well-known and well understood and for the purposes of enforcement the public health team made it very clear that doing it suburb to suburb would not necessarily deliver the outcome we want. That postcode boundary, however inconvenient, was the best way to go.”
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The Premier said the postcode system was a much better option than the other extreme — which would’ve been locking down the entire city. The state’s testing blitz saw hotspot zones classified by local government areas, but Mr Andrews explained that wouldn’t have been an ideal solution either.
“Whenever you drawn a line on a map there will always be people on either side of it and anomalies and issues that come from that. What I would say though, the alternative, is to say let’s take the broadest brush we can and lock down the entire north or west of the city or even further still, let’s lock down the entirety of metropolitan Melbourne,” he said.
“We don’t think that is a proportionate response. This is where the problem is and the data doesn’t lie. This is where the problem is and these are the steps that the public health team deem appropriate to pull this thing up.”
The State Government will lock down 10 postcodes across the inner north and west of Melbourne from 11.59pm tonight.
The following postcodes — 3012, 3021, 3032, 3038, 3042, 3046, 3047, 3055, 3060 and 3064 — which covers 36 suburbs, will all be under lockdown from tonight until at least July 29.
“If we do not do this now, then I won’t be locking down 10 postcodes, I will be locking down all postcodes,” the Premier said.
Much like the state’s earlier stage three restrictions, residents in those 10 postcodes or 36 suburbs will only be allowed to leave their home for four reasons.
• Shopping for food or other essential items
• To provide care giving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
• For exercise (outdoor exercise only, with only one other person or members of your household)
• Work or study, if you cannot work or study from home.
Additional restrictions are also being put in place for the locked down areas.
Residents in these regions cannot have visitors to their home except for caregiving or compassionate reasons or receiving services. They can no longer visit friends and family who live at another household, except for caregiving or compassionate reasons or providing services. And they cannot travel except for one of the four reasons outlined above.
Restaurants and cafes will also return to takeaway, pubs and bars will close, beauty services – except for hairdressing and barber shops – will close, gyms and public pools will close, holiday accommodation and camping is banned and recreational venues including zoos, theatres and cinemas will shut.
All affected businesses will be eligible for a $5000 grant or payroll tax refund.