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Coronavirus disaster: Melbourne’s first night under curfew

Five million Melburnians have spent their first night under a citywide, coronavirus-enforced curfew that will last the next six weeks.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday announced a suite of tough new COVID-19 regulations designed to limit movement in Melbourne, while foreshadowing more to come for workplaces.

Under ’stage four’ rules to run until at least September 13, metro Melbourne has been placed on a nightly 8pm-5am curfew starting from Sunday night.

The rare health-related restriction was prompted by the state recording 671 new cases on Sunday – it’s second-highest daily total – and seven further deaths.

A general view of Sydney Road in Brunswick after 8pm.
Camera IconA general view of Sydney Road in Brunswick after 8pm. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Melbourne residents will also only be allowed to exercise for an hour a day and can’t travel more than 5km from home for shopping or exercise.

Only one person per household can shop for groceries each day, while recreational sports such as tennis and golf have been banned altogether.

With a state of disaster declared, police have additional powers to fine anyone caught breaking curfew or outside a 5km radius of their home without reasonable excuse.

The premier flagged further announcements on employment rules on Monday, including the closure of some workplaces in certain industries.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a 'State of Disaster' and increased restrictions for Victoria.
Camera IconVictorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a ‘State of Disaster’ and increased restrictions for Victoria. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

“There will be significant changes to a number of workplaces in terms of how much they’re doing,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

But he assured Victorians supermarkets, grocery stores and bottle-os would remain open in a bid to discourage a fresh wave of panic-buying.

Meanwhile, regional Victoria has moved to ’stage three’ restrictions, with restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms to shut from midnight Wednesday.

While acknowledging the drastic moves were necessary, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce said they would undoubtedly mean the end for many businesses.

People line up to enter a supermarket hours before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne.
Camera IconPeople line up to enter a supermarket hours before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne. Credit: Erik Anderson/AP

Peak tourism body, Victoria Tourism Industry Council, said the restrictions would further devastate the state’s ailing tourism and event industry.

Mitchell Shire, to Melbourne’s north, has been reclassified as a regional municipality meaning it will remain under ’stage three’ rules.

Victoria’s latest deaths take the national toll to 208, with six of the seven connected to the age care sector.

Seventy-three of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks, 598 remain under investigation and 760 “mystery cases” are yet to be traced to an original source.

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