'There will be a stage four': State foreshadows even tighter restrictions

Josh Dutton
News Reporter

Victoria is likely to see tougher lockdown measures to fight COVID-19 after six more people died from the deadly virus.

The state is currently in a stage three lockdown after Premier Daniel Andrews announced it on Monday.

“That involves a ban with an on-the-spot fine of more than $1,600 if you breach it, on gatherings with more than two people, other than those in your household,” he said at a press conference.

A Victoria Police officer looks for groceries in a Melbourne Coles. Source: Getty Images

On Friday, the premier said "no recreational fishing trip, no trip to the golf course is worth someone's life,” referring to the stage three restrictions.

"I think there will be a stage four. When I'm in a position and when I need to make those announcements I will," he said.

It’s not clear what stage four restrictions would involve.

A Melbourne playground shutdown due to coronavirus. Source: Getty Images

Yahoo News Australia spoke with retail expert Professor Gary Mortimer about what stores might shut down under stage four, earlier this week.

Terry Barnes, a former Howard Government adviser and public policy expert, told news.com.au on Tuesday stage four is a “total lockdown” - similar to what UK and other European countries have undertaken.

“The list of essential businesses or jobs gets really tight. Effectively it’s martial law without martial law. People will be monitored and fined for being out and about when they shouldn’t be,” he told news.com.au.

In the UK, currently people can only leave the house for exercise once a day, to go to work (provided it can’t be done from home), for medical purposes or to buy groceries. That was put into place on March 23.

In New Zealand, it’s also considered to be the highest lockdown level but goes by the name of COVID-19 Alert Level Four: Eliminate.

According to the government’s COVID-19 website, it’s the measure taken after it’s been decided the disease can’t be contained. New Zealand is currently operating under these restrictions.

Part of the restrictions is the closure of educational facilities, most businesses are closed asides from supermarkets and pharmacies, severely limited travel and people instructed to stay indoors.

This is Victoria's first weekend since harsher social distancing laws were implemented and come with a ban on all but the most basic outdoor activities.

People wear masks at St Kilda Beach in Melbourne. Source: Getty Images

All recreational activities beyond basic exercise are not allowed during the pandemic, with fishing, hunting, boating, camping and golf among the banned activities.

People can be fined $1652 if they leave home for any reason that is not essential, while businesses face a $9913 fine if caught doing the wrong thing.

Since 21 March, police have conducted almost 12,000 spot checks and issued 39 fines.

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