THE State of Emergency in Victoria will be extended for another three weeks to “slow the spread of coronavirus and keep people safe” as restrictions are cautiously eased across the state from tomorrow (Monday, June 1), the state government announced this morning.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today (Sunday, May 31) announced the State of Emergency will be extended until 11.59pm on June 21.
“This extension will allow the Victorian government to continue to enforce strict physical distancing and isolation requirements, as well as other directions from the Chief Health Officer relating to businesses, working from home, mass gatherings and recreational activities,” the state government said in a statement.
“The continued high testing rate in Victoria, coupled with the current low rate of community transmission, means restrictions will be further relaxed from tomorrow – but the battle against coronavirus is far from over.
“Through this pandemic, the advice to Victorians has remained the same: stay home. As we begin to settle into a new normal, the message is: stay safe. That means continuing to maintain physical distance from others, take appropriate hygiene precautions, avoid crowds, stay home and get tested if you’re unwell.
“A vital part of this is continuing to work from home if possible – to limit the number of people moving around our state and help protect those who do have to go to work.”
Under a State of Emergency, officers authorised by the Chief Health Officer can act to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health by detaining people, restricting movement, preventing entry to premises, or providing any other direction an officer considers reasonable to protect public health.
Police have strong powers to enforce directions and can issue on the spot fines, including up to $1652 for individuals and up to $9913 for businesses. People who don’t comply could also be taken to court and receive a fine of up to $20,000. Companies face fines of up to $100,000.
For information about coronavirus, visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au or call 1800 675 398.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said: “Victorians will no doubt welcome the further easing of restrictions from tomorrow, but our coronavirus fight is far from over. Keeping the State of Emergency in place will ensure we have the tools we need to keep Victorians safe.
“This is the biggest public health challenge we’ve faced in our lifetimes, and we need all Victorians to keep doing their bit by continuing to follow the directions of the Chief Health Officer and working from home if they can.”
Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said: “Victorians have done a great job sticking to the coronavirus restrictions – their actions have saved countless lives.”
“We know restrictions can be frustrating, but they are working. It’s vital we continue to follow these directions to keep our community transmission numbers low and protect more Victorians.”