Lockdown over

A sign on the front of Terry''s Pakenham Discounts store on Main Street. 228541_07

By Mitchell Clarke

Victoria’s snap five-day circuit breaker lockdown has come to an end, with the state reopening from 11.59pm on Wednesday night, 17 February.

From Thursday, the ‘four reasons to leave home’ directive and the five-kilometre restriction will be completely scrapped.

Restaurants and retail can reopen, as can community facilities, entertainment venues and all other public places – although some additional limits on crowd sizes will be in place.

Visitors to the home will be reduced to just five per day, and public gatherings with friends and family will be limited to 20.

Students will be able to return to the classroom, while employees will be able to get back to work. For offices – both public and private – a return to 50 percent on site.

But rules for hospitals and aged care homes won’t be fully relaxed yet – instead, the State Government has moved to limit visits to one household per day, as well as some specific exceptions.

Masks will continue to be required everywhere indoors except at home – at the supermarket, at the office, at the pub when you’re getting up to pay. Masks will also be required outside if you can’t physically distance from others.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the “short and sharp” lockdown had worked.

“Five days, as challenging as it is, is infinitely better than taking a chance and ending up with a five week lockdown or something even worse,” he said.

“As far as we’ve come, as much as we’ve achieved, without the full-scale rollout of the vaccine – this virus isn’t going away.”

But the opposition has called on the State Government to provide clarity and certainty to the community instead of an “ongoing knee jerk approach”.

Shadow Health Minister Georgie Crozier said the Premier must “immediately release the plans and frameworks for future outbreaks”.

“We cannot continue to go in and out of lockdown at the drop of a hat,” Ms Crozier said.

“This is a Premier who refuses to release the health advice he’s making these decisions on. Andrews is hell bent on exerting power over the citizens of Victoria rather than being able to manage outbreaks in a calm and sensible way.”

Ms Crozier said the ramifications of this third lockdown have been widespread and will be long lasting.

For more information call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 or visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

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