WORKERS travelling from lockdown areas to Ballarat must really consider what is essential to keep this community safe, the city's top leaders in the COVID-19 response say.
Under the state's latest clamp-down on Melbourne, people can travel to Ballarat and other areas of regional Victoria for work when working from home is not an option.
Ballarat Health Services acute operations director Ben Kelly and City of Ballarat mayor Ben Taylor said how often this occurs should be kept to a minimum.
Victoria recorded 288 new coronavirus cases on Friday. Ballarat remains without any new cases since mid-May, despite multiple active cases found in Bendigo (three) and Geelong (five) entering the weekend.
Mr Kelly said while Melbourne workers were allowed in Ballarat, BHS asks people work closely with their managers and employers to minimise transmission risk.
LISTEN to BHS acute operations director Ben Kelly below
"Certainly those who are travelling into our region need to be observing social distancing, social isolation if you like, and minimising the interactions they have with other people," Mr Kelly said.
"That's the best way to ensure they are less likely to be in a position of potential transmission."
This has been a key concern for The Courier readers this week, wanting clarification on workers in a wide range of industries.
Cr Taylor reiterated a message of respect and kindness for each other but said people needed to be aware of their own safety and the safety of others in their decisions.
"If you don't feel well, stay home. If you have to work in Ballarat, then do what you have to do to keep yourself and others safe: wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance," Cr Taylor said.
"It's good Ballarat is doing so well, but we've just got to be cautious."
Cr Taylor said it was a tough time for Ballarat residents.
He encouraged anyone moving about Ballarat, residents and visitors, to plan ahead and be aware of their surroundings.
He said even though this city was operating under eased restrictions, it was important to consider your need to go out.
Since restrictions have eased, Mr Kelly has maintained social distancing was our greatest defence against the virus in Ballarat.
Mr Kelly said it was vital anyone out shopping in Ballarat adhere to social distancing and guidelines marked in shops to help in this.
"This is really important. It is difficult when people are vying for the same item on a shelf, for instance, but it's important to be patient, to wait," Mr Kelly said. "(It's important) to keep that metre-and-a-half distance, as a minimum, between yourself and others."
Cases are soaring among Moorabool Shire's metropolitan neighbours - Hume (167), Wyndham (151 active cases), Brimbank (82), Melton (24) - but Moorabool has flatlined on three COVID-19 cases with no recorded active cases of the virus.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday asked all adult residents living in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to wear face masks when they were leaving home and physical distancing might not be possible. This includes shopping and public transport.
Anyone in regional Victoria entering these areas is also urged to wear a face mask.
People will not be fined for not wearing a face mask, but the recommendation comes from Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton and is based on new global evidence masks could make a tangible difference in community transmission.
Premier Andrews said consultation would be made with union and industry groups about whether the advice on face masks in workplaces needed to also be updated.
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