By Luke Voogt
Residents in Geelong and surrounding areas will no longer be able to visit family and friends or have visitors over under new restrictions beginning tonight.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the changes today, which affect greater Geelong, the Surf Coast, Colac Otway, Moorabool and Golden Plains shires, and Queenscliff.
“Today is not a good day,” Mr Andrews said, after a record 723 new cases in Victoria as of midnight on Wednesday.
“And as the numbers show, this virus does not discriminate.
“It rips through workplaces, sweeps through aged care settings, cuts through communities – and tragically, takes lives with it as it goes.
“Most of today’s cases are in metro areas. But we have seen a significant jump in regional communities. It’s vital we stop this virus further seeping into regional Victoria.”
Mr Andrews also announced that face coverings, previously only mandatory in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, would become compulsorily for the rest of Victoria beginning 11.59pm on Sunday.
“I understand this will a big step for some,” he said.
“But by covering your face, you’re protecting your community, and protecting those extra freedoms your community enjoys.”
Residents in Geelong and surrounding regions will still be able to dine at restaurants under the new restrictions.
“Understandably, there’ll be plenty of questions about why this and not that. Why you can have dinner together at a restaurant – but not at a mate’s place,” Mr Andrews said.
“And the simple truth is, the data. The data is telling us that outside work, this is the single greatest cause of transmission in these communities.
“People are visiting friends and family – and taking the virus home with them. These are the kind of places we let our guard down.
“We relax, we get comfortable and we forget all the rules about keeping safe.”