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Residents in Victoria are being warned to expect long traffic queues and delays as tighter controls at Melbourne’s border with regional Victoria come into effect this week.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced that regional Victoria will see an easing of coronavirus restrictions come into effect on Wednesday night.
While locals are rejoicing, the change will make the divide with Melbourne Metro even starker, as the city continues under Stage 4 and nightly curfew restrictions.
On Tuesday afternoon, there were already long queues spotted at checkpoints out of the city.
ABC journalist Emilia Terzon was on the ground and said the slow-moving traffic was “just incredible”.
“Looks like the security at the Melbourne/Regional Victoria border is already being stepped up. The line out of the city is at least 1km long,” she posted on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.
— Emilia Terzon (@EmiliaTerzon) September 15, 2020
The relaxing of restrictions in regional Victoria means that up to 10 people will be able to gather outside and one household can now nominate another household to visit, in so-called household bubbles.
Businesses will also get some much needed reprieve as many will be able to reopen including the hospitality sector which will be able to reopen both indoors and outdoors with restricted numbers.
However there are no immediate changes to Melbourne's lockdown rules and people cannot travel out of the city without specific reasons.
Premier warns of traffic queues into regions
Mr Andrews said more vehicles would be stopped at police checkpoints out of Melbourne and he warned there would be long queues as a result.
“I'm sorry to say it will mean that there will be significant queues, there will be travel issues,” he said on Tuesday.
The Premier has also flagged the possibility of heavier fines for Melburnians trying to go into regional Victoria and risking the spread of the virus.
There are 43 active cases in regional Victoria, while the 14-day average dropped to 3.6 on Tuesday.
There were 42 new cases across the state on Tuesday, with all 42 occurring in metropolitan Melbourne.
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