Today I welcome the news that there are no new cases of COVID-19 in regional Victoria and that there will be a further easing of restrictions from this Wednesday at 11.59pm.

For regional Victoria, moving to step three involves permitting the following:

  • Leaving home for any reason;
  • Public gatherings of up to 10 people outdoors;
  • A ‘household bubble’ with one nominated household allowing up to 5 visitors from that household at a time;
  • Predominantly outdoor hospitality with a group limit of 10 and density limits;
  • Hairdressing and beauty services where a face covering can be worn;
  • No-person limits for shopping; and
  • Outdoor contact and non-contact sport for people aged 18 and younger, outdoor non-contact sport only for adults, with gathering and density limits, outdoor skate parks open, outdoor fitness for groups of 10 people.

I remain concerned about the Victorian Government’s roadmap for Melbourne which is driving thousands of businesses off the cliff and its draconian nightly curfew.

I am so proud of the immense sacrifices made by country Victorians during the pandemic and look forward to a return to a COVID normal state where businesses can re-open and normal life returns.

However, I believe it will be imperative to establish specific rules and protocols in coastal and other high volume tourist areas.  As summer approaches, local residents are expressing increasing concerns about health risks of a large crowds of tourists.  This is a difficult balance to get right but we cannot afford to risk a third wave of COVID-19 because of failures to manage holiday crowds.

15 September 2020