Vic mayor slams new virus restrictions

 

The mayor of a regional Victorian town has slammed new restrictions put in place by the State Government, claiming they've only been implemented so bureaucrats can look like they've done something.

Colac Otway Shire mayor Jason Schram told 3AW there was "no rhyme or reason" to the new rules, which exclude anyone from having visitors to their home - but allow groups of friends to meet at restaurants.

The new restrictions come into force at 11.59pm on Thursday for the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe.

Face masks will also become mandatory across the entire state.

The ADF has been helping with coronavirus testing in the Colac Otway Shire. Picture: Jason Edwards
The ADF has been helping with coronavirus testing in the Colac Otway Shire. Picture: Jason Edwards

Mr Schram said he was happy to hear about the face mask rule, but said it was the only one of a series of requests he had made to the State Government to help contain the outbreaks that had been implemented.

There are currently 54 cases of coronavirus in the Colac Otway Shire, with most of those coming from the local abattoir.

Mr Schram said the new restrictions would not have prevented this due to the way the virus spread through the town.

"We aren't seeing a great deal of community transmission here - it was people in the homes of the abattoir workers, but not spreading it household to household," he said.

The Mayor argued instead of banning visitors to homes, Premier Daniel Andrews should instead bring back stage three restrictions for aged care and disability homes, as well as schools.

"We're doing the right thing in Colac," he said.

"I think the way Colac has handled it, if the government had handled it half as well we'd be in a better position."

An outbreak at the Australian Lamb abattoir led to 54 cases in the town. Picture: Jason Edwards
An outbreak at the Australian Lamb abattoir led to 54 cases in the town. Picture: Jason Edwards

Mr Andrews announced 723 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, as well as 13 deaths, making it the nation's deadliest day in the pandemic.

He said the new restriction on houseguests was designed in hopes of stemming widespread community transmission, after data showed the virus was spreading wildly in residents' homes.

Meanwhile, tough policing of hospitality venues have made them safer areas to congregate in, so cafes, restaurants and bars could remain open.

"People are visiting friends and family - and taking the virus home with them," he said.

"You cannot visit friends. They cannot visit you.

"(Homes) are the kind of places we let our guard down. We relax, we get comfortable and we forget all the rules about keeping safe."

Originally published as Vic mayor slams new virus restrictions



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