REGIONAL Victoria will go into stage 3 restrictions from Wednesday night.
It comes as Victoria has recorded 671 new coronavirus cases, and seven deaths overnight Saturday.
The restrictions mean from 11.59pm Wednesday the only reason people in regional Victoria will be able to leave home is for shopping for food and essentials, care and caregiving, work and study, and daily exercise.
Businesses such as pubs, nightclubs, pools, gyms, galleries, beauty and personal services, wildlife parks, cinemas and theatres and religious services will have to close.
Cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer takeaway.
Community sport and training will be banned.
School will return to remote learning from Wednesday.
The new restrictions will be in place for six weeks.
From Monday, wearing a mask will also be mandatory while in public.
Member for Mildura Ali Cupper said she understood there would be a lot of anxiety and anger about the harsher restrictions.
“It feels like a bit of a sledgehammer approach for us given we have had low numbers of COVID-19 for so long,” she said.
“However, we now know one of the active cases in the Swan Hill LGA is from the Robinvale area, so it shows we are not immune from the virus.
“But I share people’s concerns about these restrictions. It’s going to be a difficult time again for all of us and there will be a feeling we are being punished given there have been low numbers here – in fact no cases in the Mildura LGA for months.
“But I would urge people to stick together and take care of each other. We need to channel our anxiety and anger into helping each other rather than tearing each other apart.
“The faster Victoria can get on top of the COVID-19 numbers, the better off we all will be. So let’s do our part.”
Ms Cupper has urged people not to engage in panic buying which was prevalent during the first lockdown.
A state of disaster has been declared across the state, with stage four restrictions in force from 6pm Sunday night in Melbourne.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said further announcements would be made on Monday regarding industries.