Sunday, July 21, 2024

Masks to be mandatory across Victoria

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has today announced an expansion of the state’s public health directive to wear a mask in public to also cover residents in regional Victoria.

Announcing the state’s latest and most devastating day of COVID-19 figures this morning – 723 new cases and 13 deaths overnight – Mr Andrews said today was “not a good day” for the embattled state.

“As the numbers show, this virus does not discriminate,” the Premier said.

“It rips through workplaces, sweeps through aged care settings, cuts through communities – and tragically, takes lives with it as it goes.

“Most of today’s cases are in metro areas. But we have seen a significant jump in regional communities. It’s vital we stop this virus further seeping into regional Victoria.”

He announced that, in line with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, the mandatory requirement to wear a mask in public would apply across regional Victoria from midnight on Sunday.

“I understand this will a big step for some. But by covering your face, you’re protecting your community, and protecting those extra freedoms your community enjoys,” Mr Andrews said.

“By covering your face, you’re keeping local businesses open, and keeping local people in work.”

He also announced a lockdown on several local government areas, saying residents in these jurisdictions – Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe – would no longer be able to visit people or have visitors at home.

“To date, new cases in regional communities have largely been contained to workplaces. Increasingly though, in some locations, we’re seeing a different kind of spread.”

“Understandably, there’ll be plenty of questions about why this and not that. Why you can have dinner together at a restaurant – but not at a mate’s place.

“And the simple truth is, the data. The data is telling us that outside work, this is the single greatest cause of transmission in these communities.

“People are visiting friends and family – and taking the virus home with them.”

The Premier said government would also continue to examine workplaces and what can be done to further protect workers, their families and their communities.

“I understand that many Victorians will be feeling equal parts frustrated, tired and sad. I am too.”

He said the state was clearly a long way from where it wanted to be in relation to controlling the spread of the virus.

“This is one of the biggest challenges our state has faced. And yet, really, we’re all being asked to make the smallest of sacrifices,” the Premier said.

“By not seeing your mate, you might be saving their life. By not hugging your mum, you might be keeping her alive. And by covering your face, you’re contributing to the safety of every single Victorian.

“Day by day, decision by decision – we can get on top of this. But we need your help.”

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