Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed he will seek advice from chief health officer Brett Sutton on whether the state’s coronavirus pandemic rules should “follow” Victorians when they travel across borders.
Mr Andrews made the comment on Sunday as the long-awaited opening of the border with NSW and the ACT on November 23 approaches.
He told reporters it was “not a question I can answer today” but likened the situation to the regulations in place for when Melburnians travelled into regional Victoria.
Strict rules that once kept Victorians under lockdown have been largely lifted, and they can celebrate 16 straight days of no new cases or deaths after the state’s virus crisis was brought under control.
However, people are still bound to wear a mask when out in public in across Victoria and also have to follow rules in regards to public gatherings and home visits.
Mr Andrews said Melbourne stage four rules followed Melburnians when they travelled into regional Victoria, at a time when the virus presented in greater numbers in Melbourne.
He said he would need to seek clarity about whether rules that apply in Victoria should also apply to Victorians when they are interstate.
“I’ll need to speak to the chief health officer about whether he has views on whether Victorian rules follow you when you move into another state.”
The comment drew some criticism on social media as Victorians wondered how their state’s laws would be enforced interstate.
“Sorry but I quite like Dan and think he‘s done a good job bringing numbers down, but this is utter madness,” one Twitter user said.
Another, Tevan D’Souza, wrote: “You cannot be serious. There’s no way people will be following Victorian rules like masks for much longer anymore anyway.”
Premier says he’ll have talks with the CHO this week.. about his advice about whether Victorian restrictions should follow Victorians.. when we are allowed into other states…
— Heidi Murphy (@heidimur) November 14, 2020
Yeah, this is a weird one.
Sorry but I quite like Dan and think he’s done a good job bringing numbers down, but this is utter madness.
If it’s safe enough to cross the border into these states, it’s safe enough to follow the rules of those states.
— DocMelbourne (@MockDelbourne) November 14, 2020
You cannot be serious. Theres no way people will be following Victorian rules like masks for much longer anymore anyway
— Tevan D’Souza (@tevand95) November 15, 2020
Mr Andrews said he and Professor Brett Sutton would discuss the issue before the government released its advisories for people intending to travel into “each and every” state set to reopen to Victoria, with NSW and ACT the first to do so.
Those advisories should be released this week, he said.
“Obviously the key point, as that’s not a question I can answer today (the rules), the key point is if you are unwell you should not travel … any symptoms whatsoever,” the Premier said.
“You cannot be travelling either in Victoria or anywhere else if you are unwell.”
A Victorian government spokeswoman said later on Sunday that any rules in place in other states are a matter for those states.
“The Chief Health Officer’s directions apply only to people when they are in Victoria,” the spokeswoman said.
“We will have more to say about the next steps towards ‘COVID Normal’ later this week.”
The comments came as the state government unveiled a $5.3 billion investment in public housing, for more than 12,000 new homes.
The investment, to be made in the upcoming state budget, aims to boost the economy, support about 10,000 jobs over the next four years and boost social housing by 10 per cent.
Mr Andrews said the “unprecedented” investment will help Aboriginal Victorians, pensioners, those with disability, family violence victims and single parent families find their feet.
The government says it will generate an estimated $6.7 billion in economic activity.
Originally published as Virus rules could ‘follow’ Victorians