Melbourne, Australia’s second biggest city is put under stage four restrictions starting August 2 for six weeks.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce additional measures around businesses that must close later on Monday.
Andrews explained that the restrictions are needed to get community transmission – wherein the source of transmissions cannot be determined – under control.
The new restrictions includes a curfew from 8pm to 5am, which means nearly five million people are barred from leaving their homes except for work or to receive or give care.
Only one person per household may leave the house to shop for food and necessary supplies, and they must shop within 5km distance from their home unless the nearest supermarket is further than 5km.
It is also required to wear a mask or covering whenever a person leaves their home, with exemptions given to people with medical reasons and children below 12 years old.
Those with professional reasons are also exempt, as well as when “it’s just not practical, like when running,” as long as they carry a face covering at all times and to “wear when you can.”
Teachers will not be required to wear face coverings while teaching, but students attending classes will be required.
The federal government backed the decision, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying it was “regrettably necessary” to help stop the spread of the virus.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg calls the move, “devastating … nobody wanted it to get to this.”
“There is only one way out and that is to stem the tide of new cases. This is a big kick in the guts to thousands of small businesses right across the state.”
The state of Victoria contributes about a quarter of the national economy, but the outbreak had sunk Australia’s hopes to quickly rebound from the recession driven by the coronavirus pandemic.