A seven-day “circuit breaker” snap lockdown has been announced for Victoria as the state has recorded 12 new cases of community-transmitted COVID-19 today.
From 11:59pm today (Thursday, 27th May) until 11:59pm next week (Thursday, 3rd June), there will be only five reasons to leave the house. Those reasons are shopping for food and supplies within five kilometres of home, authorised work, care and caregiving, exercise (for up to two hours and with one other person, within five kilometres) and getting vaccinated.
Both public and private gatherings will be prohibited, with no visitors to one’s home allowed other than intimate partners. Single person bubbles will also be permitted. Additionally, face masks will need to be worn indoors and outdoors, anywhere that isn’t one’s home.
Naturally, venues will not be able to remain open to crowds, and restaurants, pubs and cafes will be able to provide takeaway only. Essential retail along with childcare and kinders will be open. Approved professional sporting events will proceed, but in lieu of crowds.
“If we make the wrong choice now, if we wait too long, if we hesitate too much, this thing will get away from us, and lives will be at risk”, commented Acting Premier James Merlino when announcing the new restrictions today. “If more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a different set of circumstances. Sadly, we’re not.”
The lockdown means a slew of live music events scheduled to take place will now be cancelled or postponed, including Melbourne’s RISING Festival. The arts festival kicked off yesterday, with organisers working with the Victorian Government and Department of Health to make sure the event was COVID-safe.
RISING was supposed to continue to run over the next week and a half, with a music lineup that included the likes of Julia Jacklin, the Goon Sax, Marlon Williams and more. Many of those shows will now need to be either cancelled or postponed.
The snap lockdown comes as the music industry continues to push for government support for a Business Interruption Fund for large-scale live music events. Calls for a government-backed festival insurance scheme were reignited last month following the shock cancellation (and eventual rescheduling) of Bluesfest, with peak music bodies and Labor MPs stressing the need for a way for organisers to recoup losses in the event of a cancellation.