As regional Victoria anxiously awaits scaled back COVID-19 lockdown rules, authorities will ramp up roadblocks to stop the virus spreading out of Melbourne.
The state’s regional restrictions will be eased from midnight on Wednesday, with only 43 active cases outside of Melbourne.
Premier Daniel Andrews has warned motorists travelling out of the city to expect longer wait times as police tighten checkpoints.
“I’m sorry to say it will mean that there will be significant queues, there will be travel issues,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Melbourne’s lockdown rules remain unchanged and people cannot travel out of the city without specific reasons.
Mr Andrews noted more cars would be stopped at roadblocks, with an exact percentage expected to be outlined on Wednesday ahead of regional Victoria’s third step coming into effect.
The next step means pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to serve people outside with strict density quotas, while outdoor gathering limits will be upped to 10.
Regional Victorians will also be able to leave their homes without restriction and all shops can reopen.
The premier said Melburnians should be inspired by the rolling back of restrictions, rather than disheartened.
“I’d encourage people not to see it that way and instead see this as proof positive,” he said.
It was a double dose of good news on Tuesday, as Victoria recorded its first day without a virus death in more than two months.
Mr Andrews was measured about the milestone, noting that 118 people are still in hospital and 11 remain in intensive care.
It leaves Victoria’s toll at 729 and the national figure on 816.
Overall, the state recorded 43 new cases, dropping the 14-day average infection rate to 52.9 for metropolitan Melbourne and 3.6 for regional Victoria.
Melbourne will move to its next step of reopening on September 28 if the 14-day case average falls to between 30-50.