Mass exodus expected this weekend from Melbourne’s CBD as the state reopens regional travel – and you can leave just before the 6pm deadline without paying a fine
- Melburnians are allowed to travel to the regions on Friday from 6 pm
- It comes as the state prepares to meet its 80 percent complete vaccination target
- Police say they won’t punish travelers if they leave the city ‘an hour early’
- This prevents a traffic jam on the roads from the CBD
Melburnians are expected to flock to the regions of Victoria for an unofficial long weekend as travel resumes across the state and more Covid-19 restrictions ease.
The metro-regional border will reopen at 6 p.m. Friday, before the state reaches its 80 percent full vaccination target, paving the way for a mass exodus from the city.
It is feared that the rule change could lead to traffic chaos in the late afternoon, with thousands of people fleeing the city for the unofficial Melbourne Cup long weekend.
The metro-regional border will reopen at 6 p.m. Friday, before the state reaches its 80 percent full vaccination target, paving the way for a mass exodus from the city
But Chief Constable Shane Patton has indicated that those who intend to get ahead may not be punished.
“Instead of everyone leaving … at the six start line, if it was a fraction earlier we wouldn’t worry too much about that,” he told Melbourne’s 3AW radio on Thursday.
He says the police will instead use discretion as long as people leave an hour or so in advance.
However, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has asked Victorians to follow the rules until the last minute
However, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has asked Victorians to follow the rules until the last minute.
“It has to change at some point,” he told reporters.
When restrictions ease on Friday at 6 p.m., masks no longer need to be worn outdoors, indoor entertainment venues, gyms and shops can reopen to fully vaccinated customers, and capacity limits for restaurants, pubs and cafes increase.
With increased capacity and intra-state travel allowed, the tourism-starved regional operators are gearing up for a busy weekend.
With increased capacity and intra-state travel allowed, tourism-starved regional operators are gearing up for a busy weekend
Bells Beach Brewing co-owner Adam Smith expects its Torquay and Geelong locations to be full and says a group of about 30 people from Melbourne are making the trip.
“It’ll be almost a tearful reunion on Saturday when they come in,” he said.
Meanwhile, Victoria is also tightening medical exemption rules for Covid-19 vaccinations from 6pm Friday, in a crackdown on people who run doctors’ shops and pressure GPs.
The state recorded the deadliest day of the third wave of the pandemic on Thursday, with 25 more Covid-19 deaths and 1,923 local cases reported.