Daniel Andrews announced the biggest ever fines for those who refuse to obey isolation orders as Victoria announced another 439 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths.
The Victorian premier said those who breach isolation orders for a second time will be fined $4,957 – which will increase to $20,000 if they choose to fight the fines in court – as authorities desperately try to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The record fines come as a sweep of Melbourne by the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday found 800 out of the 3,000 people who were supposed to be isolating were not home when they knocked on their doors.
Mr Andrews also closed a loophole which allowed those isolating to leave their home for exercise – and told those at home to ‘get fresh air at the front door or in the backyard’.
About 1,500 police officers will enforce the strict quarantine orders and perform regular door knock checks.
Mr Andrews also announced another 11 people in aged care had died on Tuesday, including a woman over the age of 100, a man in his 70s, four people in their 80s and three in their 90s. There are now a staggering 1,186 active cases of COVID-19 in aged care facilities in Victoria.
Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne was deserted during peak hour on Tuesday morning as the state enforced strict lockdown measures
Meanwhile, at least 14 flights between Melbourne and Sydney scheduled to arrive on Tuesday have been cancelled as both states try to manage their COVID-19 outbreaks.
Three flights are still expected to arrive in Sydney, despite growing concerns Victorians are importing the virus. Three of the 12 new cases identified in New Sourth Wales overnight came from Victoria.
Melbourne is now under strict Stage Four lockdown that includes a 8pm until 5am curfew, a ban on leaving your home unless for work, exercise, perform care or to visit the shops at other times, and the requirement to wear a mask outdoors, or be fined $200.
Melbourne residents can only shop or exercise within 5km of their homes and most of the city’s retail industry will close.
‘You will be doorknocked. You will be visited. If you’re not at home you will be fined,’ Mr Andrews said.
Wearing a face mask was also made mandatory in Victoria, and failure to comply is punishable with a $200 on-the-spot fine
Ambulance officers remove a resident from the St Basil’s Home for the Aged following a COVID outbreak
Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said the ‘window for discretion’ has now closed and warnings will no longer be issued.
On Monday night, a person was fined for breaking the 8pm curfew when they were caught driving to get fast food at 3am.
Another was was caught after curfew trying to buy alcohol, while another simply said he ‘was bored and wanted to go for a drive’.
Mr Patton also slammed so called ‘sovereign citizens’ who deliberately flouted lockdown laws.
He referenced an incident in Frankston overnight, when a 38-year-old woman allegedly assaulted a policewoman after she was told to wear a mask in Bayside Shopping Centre.
‘During that scuffle, this 38-year-old woman smashed the head of the policewoman several times into a concrete area on the ground,’ Mr Patton said.
The woman was charged with ‘significant offences’ – but was bailed ‘due to having no criminal history’.
‘It shows how things can escalate from non-adherence,’ he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews brought in the escalated emergency level as the state’s worsening crisis shows no signs of ending
STAGE FOUR COVIDIOTS
Police revealed 161 fines were handed out in Victoria overnight to people who breached lockdown orders and the 8pm curfew.
Police Minister Lisa Neville revealed one person was fined when they were caught ‘driving to get fast food’ at 3am.
In another instance, one person admitted they were ‘bored and going for a drive’ after the curfew.
40 of the fines were issued for people who refused to wear masks.
Another ‘decided that they needed to buy a car after 8pm last night, drive across the city of Melbourne,’ Ms Neville explained.
‘We’ve also seen people who have picked up people from other households, again breaching the direction and then also briefing the curfew,’ she said.
‘All of those people were infringed last night. So be in no doubt Victoria Police are using their powers to do that.
Some of the latest fines include:
· An Apollo Bay man was intercepted in Macedon Ranges on his way to Mildura to stay in a motel and visit a friend.
· A man who was at the shops in Bendigo refused to put his face covering on because he was face-timing his friend who wouldn’t be able to see him properly if he wore it.
· A Sydenham man was intercepted in Broadmeadows after curfew trying to find a bottle shop that was open.
· A man was intercepted at 3.20am on his way to a fast food outlet in Casey.
· Three men from different addresses travelling in the same car were intercepted in Roxborough Park after curfew – they had just returned from a fast food outlet.
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton also slammed so called ‘sovereign citizens’ who deliberately flouted lockdown laws.
He referenced an incident in Frankston overnight, when a 38-year-old woman assaulted a policewoman after she was told to wear a mask in Bayside Shopping Centre.
‘During that scuffle, this 38-year-old woman smashed the head of the policewoman several times into a concrete area on the ground,’ Mr Patton revealed.
The woman was charged with ‘significant offences’ – but was bailed ‘due to having no criminal history’.
On Monday, the state recorded a further 429 cases, while 671 were identified on Sunday, prompting the statewide shutdown.
‘As heartbreaking as it is to close down places of employment… that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious virus, this deadly virus,’ Mr Andrews said on Monday.
Early estimates indicate about 250,000 people will be directly impacted by the tough lockdown, which will last at least six weeks.
Those who lose their jobs in the coming days will join about 250,000 more in the state who were stood down earlier in the pandemic, and a further 500,000 who are working from home.
As he listed Victorian industries in three columns – those open, those with reduced output and those that will be closed for six weeks – Mr Andrews warned that further restrictions could follow if the state’s efforts fail.
In a statement, the Premier said: ‘What is clear is that if we don’t do this now, if this doesn’t work, then we’ll need a much longer list of complete shutdowns.
Australia’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly spiralling out of control because of the second wave of infections in Victoria
A woman is seen walking through one of Melbourne’s deserted laneways during COVID-19 in Melbourne
Lone commuters were pictured waiting for public transport on Tuesday while wearing masks
Shoppers queue into the distance outside a Costco in Melbourne to stock up ahead of Stage Four restrictions and a curfew on Sunday
CRACKDOWN FOR VICTORIAN ISOLATION BREACHES:
A fine of $4,957 for failing to self-isolate for a second or subsequent time – the highest on-the-spot penalty available to Victoria Police
Police can also take offenders to court, where they face a fine of up to $20,000
People who have tested positive or who are close contacts can no longer leave their homes for exercise
An additional 250 sworn officers joining Operation Sentinel, which polices Victoria’s coronavirus rules
More than 500 ADF personnel and 300 authorised officers joining Operation Vestige, which is the door-knocking of people who have tested positive or are close contacts to ensure they are self-isolating
More than 4000 home visits every day from next week
Of about 3000 door knocks so far, in more than 800 cases the person supposed to be isolating was not at home
As part of the stage-four lockdown, from midnight Wednesday workers in permitted industries who cannot work from home must carry a signed permit when travelling to and from their jobs
People already can be fined $1,652 in Victoria for breaking coronavirus rules and $200 for not wearing a mask in public.
‘It’s hard to imagine what a Stage 5 might look like. But it would radically change the way people live.
‘Not just rules on when and where you can go shopping – but restrictions on going shopping at all.’
Under Stage Four, department stores like Myer, David Jones, Target, Big W, and Kmart will all be forced to close – but can sell online and have customers pick up their orders.
Bunnings will be closed to everyone except tradespeople, but as with retailers, other customers will be able to order online and pick up at the store.
Supermarkets, grocery stores, butchers, bakers, chemists and other essential services will remain open.
Also on the shutdown list are shops selling furniture, homewares, electircal, recreational goods, clothing and shoes, florists, and antiques.
Sales of vehicles, new and used, and car parts will close but mechanics allowed to stay open to keep essential services on the road.
Victorians have lined up at supermarkets to buy meat and fish but Mr Andrews has moved to assure them that shoppers will be able to get what they need, and not to panic buy
Pharmacies, post offices, banks, petrol stations, bottle shops, and a small list of other businesses will be spared.
Mr Andrews will be joined by Police Minister Lisa Neville and Chief Commissioner Shane Patton when he addresses the public on Tuesday.
He is likely to give further details about new restrictions introduced in regional Victoria and the policing of the unprecedented restrictions statewide.
The financial fallout of the lockdown is predicted to be upwards of $25billion for Victoria alone.
Terry Rawnsley, an expert in economies, forecast the restrictions will also hit the New South Wales economy by about $1billion during the September quarter.
Meanwhile in New South Wales, a further 12 cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday.
The Royal Arcade in Melbourne was also empty on Tuesday morning as the government announced sweeping shutdowns of retail businesses
Victoria recorded 671 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday (pictured). A Stage 4 lockdown will see nearly all shops close and high school students back to learning from home
Pictured: Empty trams cross in front of Flinders Street Station on Sunday. Melbourne residents are banned from leaving their homes between 8pm and 5am other than for a small number of essential reasons under an unprecedented night-time curfew
WHAT MELBOURNE’S STAGE FOUR LOCKDOWN MEANS FOR YOU
State of disaster: Increased police powers to enforce the lockdown. Cautions will no longer be issues, only $1,652 fines or court summons
Curfew: No one allowed outside 8pm to 5am except for work, medical, caregiving – no shopping or exercising
Distance limit: Shopping and exercise can only be done 5km from home
Exercise: All recreational activity is banned and you can only exercise, with one other person, for one hour a day
Partners: You can visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t live with you, even if they live more than 5km away
Shopping: Only one person can go shopping per household per day
Cafes and restaurants stay open for takeaway, as do supermarkets, etc
Schools: All students learning from home from Wednesday unless they are vulnerable or parents are essential workers. Kindy and childcare close on Thursday (same exceptions apply)
Funerals: No change to funeral limits, but only 10 mourners can leave Melbourne to regional Victoria for one
Weddings: Completely banned
Public transport: Slashed after 8pm and cancelled late at night
Community sport: All community sport across Victoria is now banned. Only exercise is allowed within the permitted public gathering limits of two people.