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Melburnians hit with new rule and massive fine for businesses

Melburnians hit with new rule and massive fine for businesses

Melbourne residents were hoping lockdown restrictions would start easing — but instead they have been hit with a brutal new rule.

“The restrictions that apply to you in Melbourne travel with you,” he said.

Regional Victoria has moved ahead of metro Melbourne on the state’s “road map to COVID normal”, with only five active cases outside the capital city.

Businesses such as cafes and retail stores have been allowed to operate since 11.59pm on September 16 in regional Victoria, along with a suite of other freedoms unavailable to Melbourne residents.

But business owners will be slugged with a fine of almost $10,000 if they treat Melbourne residents the same as everyone else in the towns, Mr Andrews said.

“For instance, you could get a takeaway coffee, but you could not sit in a cafe, or a restaurant, a pub, a bar — that’s just not an option for you,” he said.

“That’s in order to protect the very low numbers in regional Victoria.”

He said business-owners must take “reasonable” steps to identify where customers were from, and if they weren’t sure, they shouldn’t serve them.

“If the customer cannot satisfy the shop owner … the default position is that the Melbourne rules apply to them,” he said.

“Regional businesses that are open want to stay open.

“They don’t want outbreaks.”

Individuals caught travelling to regional Victoria without a valid reason can be fined nearly $5000.

“Victoria Police have sadly issued a number of those,” Mr Andrews said.

The new rule follows a scary incident this week when a COVID-positive man from Melbourne dined at a cafe in the town of Kilmore, in regional Victoria, sparking fears of an outbreak in the town.

Four cases were identified in a testing blitz in Kilmore, and more than 200 people were forced into isolation.

A second new rule announced on Sunday is that people in mandatory quarantine must get a COVID test on day 11 of their isolation.

If they refuse, their quarantine will be extended by 10 days.

“I am very pleased to be able to report that all of the data, all of the evidence suggests that a very, very high percentage of people are doing the right thing and I’m very grateful to them — but this is just about giving us an even more complete picture,” he said.

Both rules come into effect at 11.59pm on Sunday.