Victorian state of emergency and COVID-19

A four-week State of Emergency has been declared in Victoria, which Premier Daniel Andrews says is likely to be extended as the state grapples with the COVID-19 outbreak. The State of Emergency will come into effect from midday on Monday. Giving an update from the state control centre on Monday, Mr Andrews said the decision was about “flattening the curve”. “If we can flatten that curve, then we can prevent the health system from being overrun by critically ill patients,” he said. Mr Andrews also said the government would put together care packages for the vulnerable who may not be able to gain access to the supplies they need.

Under a State of Emergency, Authorised Officers, at the direction of the Chief Health Officer, can act to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health by detaining people, restricting movement, preventing entry to premises, or providing any other direction an AO considers reasonable to protect public health.

Starting at noon on the 16th March and 13th April 2020 a person who owns, controls or operates premises in the State of Victoria must not organise or attend a mass gatherings of more than 500 people. This does not include a gathering:

a. at an airport that is necessary for the normal business of the airport;
b. for the purposes of or related to public transportation, including in vehicles or at public transportation facilities such as stations, platforms and stops;
c. at a medical or health service facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facilities;
d. for the purposes of emergency services;
e. at a disability or aged care facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility;
f. at a prison, correctional facility, youth justice centre or other place of custody;
g. at a court or tribunal;
h. at Parliament for the purpose of its normal operations;
i. at a food market, supermarket, grocery store, retail store, shopping centre that is necessary for the normal business of those premises;
j. at an office building, factory or construction site that is necessary for the normal operation of those premises;
k. at a school, university, educational institution or childcare facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility;
l. at a hotel or motel that is necessary for the normal operation of accommodation services;
m. at a place where five hundred (500) or more persons may be present for the purposes of transiting through the place;
Example: Federation Square or Bourke Street Mall.