Police have formulated a plan to stop Melburnians escaping lockdown and fleeing into regional Victoria.
Victoria Police will deploy extra officers to Melbourne’s fringe areas in a bid to stop city dwellers fleeing lockdown into regional Victoria.
It comes after Premier Daniel Andrews lifted lockdown across the state’s regional communities from 11.59pm on Thursday, saying health authorities are confident the latest outbreaks are contained within metropolitan Melbourne.
Regional Victorians will be able to leave home for any reason, while schools, workplaces and hospitality will reopen.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent warned Melburnians not to act on any temptation to sneak out of the city, with $5452 fines for anyone found in breach of the chief health officer’s directions.
“Don’t be tempted to come to the regional areas – we won’t just be on the borders, we’ll be further up the Hume Highway, in the other towns and rural centres ensuring there is compliance with the CHO directions,” he said.
“Don’t be tempted to come to the regional areas for a lunch or a restaurant meal or a pub meal – $5452 is a lot to pay for one of those short-term luxuries.
“More importantly don’t be that person from metro Melbourne that brings the virus to regional Victoria and causes regional Victoria to be locked down again.”
Mr Nugent said just one driver had been fined on Thursday night after they were caught driving to Ballarat without a permitted reason.
He said police would use digital technology to track vehicles with Melbourne registrations and check the drivers have a valid reason to be in regional Victoria.
Regional Victorian hospital business owners also had the authority to check customers for proof of residence and not serve people who were from Melbourne, Mr Nugent said.
Victoria recorded 334 new locally acquired Covid-19 infections on Friday – of those, 149 were linked to known outbreaks.
One person – a man in his 70s from Coburg – also died from the virus overnight.