Suburbs across Brimbank will be sent back into lockdown as of Wednesday night as the state attempts to stem the flow of a second wave of COVID-19.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced that as of 11.59pm residents within the postcodes 3012, 3021, 3032, 3038, 3042, 2046, 3047, 3055, 3060, 3064 will be forced to stay at home.
Mr Andrews cited unacceptably high rates of community transmission and high numbers of positive tests as the reason behind the move.
“Suburban lockdowns are restrictions that work. We have all been through that journey and we know at the end of that process we were able to start opening back up,” Mr Andrews said.
Residents of the suburbs, which include Albanvale, St Albans, Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Kealba and Kings Park will only be permitted to leave their homes for four reasons.
Those reasons are for work and school, care and caregiving, exercise and shopping for food and other essential items.
The restrictions will be in place for four weeks.
Mr Andrews said booze bus-style checking points will be put in place to ensure people aren’t breaching restrictions.
“Victoria Police will be actively enforcing these suburban lockdowns. Patrolling these communities,” Mr Andrews said.
“If people are out of home, they will be asked politely why and if it’s not for one of the four reasons, on-the-spot fines will be issued.
“These are extraordinary steps. These are things we haven’t had to do in the past, but if we don’t take these steps now rather than locking down 10 postcodes, we’ll be locking down every postcode.”
The move comes following a testing blitz across a number of “hotspot” suburbs.
Mr Daniels said while tens of thousands of people had been tested during the blitz, 928 people in Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows had refused testing.
He urged all Victorians to get tested if someone knocks at their door.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Brimbank mayor Georgina Papafotiou asked the government for information surrounding any possible lockdown.
“The restrictions to date have had an undeniable impact on businesses and community members in our municipality and any further restrictions would put additional strain on residents and businesses already suffering financially,” Cr Papafotiou said.
“We stand ready to do the right thing but there is no doubt our community and businesses will need additional health and wellbeing and economic support to get through something like that.”
The Premier said reimposed restrictions would be deeply damaging to businesses and said all those impacted would be given a $5000 grant.
Despite the restrictions, Mr Andrews said his health advice said there would be no need for schools to return to remote learning, even within postcodes forced into lockdown.
He also announced that he’d ordered international flights be diverted away from Melbourne airport, with the state putting a stop to taking in people for hotel quarantine periods.