I am relieved that the Victorian Government is proposing to ease Covid-19 lockdown restrictions across regional Victoria from 11:59pm tomorrow night, Thursday 3 June.

But the question remains – why was regional Victoria placed into lockdown in the first place?

As a regional Senator for Victoria, I ask where is the health advice which justifies such dramatic action?

Given there has been no community transmission in regional Victoria and there are only two known exposure sites being in Anglesea and Bendigo, I am deeply concerned about the damage caused to the regional Victorian economy.

As happens in NSW, the Victorian Government must improve its contact tracing so that risks can be mitigated in exposure sites without the entire state’s economy being placed into lockdown.

The new restrictions for regional Victoria are as follows:

  • The five reasons to leave home are removed.
  • No limit on the distance you can travel from home.
  • Travel to Melbourne for a permitted reason only and you must follow Melbourne restrictions once you are there.
  • Outdoor gathering limits can occur with up to 10 people – infants under 12 months are not included in that cap.
  • Food and hospitality will be open for seated service only, with a cap of 50 people per venue, subject to density requirements of one per 4 square metres.
  • Retail can re-open and personal services such as beauty and tattooing can resume for services where masks can remain on.
  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies are permitted for 50 people plus one faith leader indoors or outdoors.
  • Gathering limits for weddings will be 10 people and for funerals, 50 mourners.
  • Junior outdoor community sport will return and adults will be able to resume training outdoors.
  • Outdoor pools, including swimming classes, can operate with a limit of 50 people with a density quota of one per 4 square metres.
  • Libraries and toy libraries can open with a cap of 50 people subject to density requirements.
  • Outdoor entertainment venues – seated and unseated – will have a patron cap of 50 people or 50 per cent of the venue‘s seating capacity (whichever is lower).

Victorian health authorities will use the next 24 hours to continue tracing and testing and confirm that this change can go ahead.

In the meantime, if you are able, please get vaccinated if you’re eligible so we can protect our families and communities. For more detail on the Victorian Government rollback of restrictions visit: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.