Regional border crackdown

(Rebecca Hosking) 194314_11

Luke Voogt

Police will be out in force to prevent Melburnians breaching COVID-19 restrictions to travel to Geelong and regional Victoria over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

The yearly four-day Operation Regal targeting dangerous driving will also support the ongoing Operation Sentinel, aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 into regional Victoria.

Despite restrictions easing in metropolitan Melbourne today, residents are still prohibited from leaving the city without a valid reason.

An extra 200 officers per day are already patrolling main arterials and back roads to prevent Melburnians fleeing to take advantage of more relaxed restrictions in regional Victoria.

The mobile patrols are using automatic number plate recognition technology to scan registration details and identify vehicles from Melbourne travelling to regional areas.

Another 250 police officers are conducting spot checks in public places, businesses and public transport hubs across major regional and rural centres to catch out those flouting the rules.

“With two statewide operations under way across the long weekend, motorists can expect to see a bolstered police presence on Victorian roads,” Assistant Commissioner Road Policing Libby Murphy said.

“With regional Victorians free to travel across the state, we’re still anticipating a busy weekend on regional roads and major arterials.”

Restrictions eased further in regional Victoria today, with residents now allowed to have up to two adults, plus dependents, visit their home per day.

Restaurants and cafes can open to a maximum of 150 people for seated service, including up to 75 indoors, with the same limits for religious ceremonies.

Funerals are limited to 75 people, while weddings are limited to 20. Public outdoor gatherings are now limited to 20.

Indoor sport, including gyms, can also reopen with limits on patron numbers.

Meanwhile, senior female football and under 19s football and netball will resume across Geelong tomorrow.

AFL Barwon plans to resume senior and reserves football and netball in the GFNL and BFNL on June 19, dependent on restrictions.