People are continuing to breach COVID-19 restrictions in an effort to visit regional areas such as Ballarat, police say.
While residents of Melbourne and Mitchell Shire must abide by stage 3 "stay at home" restrictions, regional Victorians have slightly more freedom.
In addition to ensuring those living in the areas with imposed stage 3 restrictions are compliant with the four reasons to leave home - for food and supplies, for medical care or caregiving, exercise and outdoor recreation and study and work if they cannot do so from home - police are enforcing the Chief Health Officer's directions across the Ballarat region.
Across the region - encompassing Ballarat, Moorabool, Pyrenees, Hepburn and Golden Plains - police are continuing to undertake various initiatives as part of Operation Sentinel, with a new focus on protecting regional Victoria from experiencing the spike in cases that has been seen in Melbourne.
These initiatives include visiting the homes of those diagnosed with the virus and close contacts to ensure compliance with directions and patrols of public locations, such as shopping centres, to ensure social distancing is being practised.
Random checks at railway stations are also being conducted to monitor who is coming from Melbourne.
With community concerns about people travelling on public transport into the region from the lockdown area, police are conducting random compliance checks at train stations to monitor potential breaches.
Transit police and PSOs are also checking people on trains.
Meanwhile, police are continuing to operate a vehicle checkpoint that was set-up on the Western Freeway at Hopetoun Park - between Bacchus Marsh and Melton - in early July, to man the boundary between Melbourne and western Victoria.
Related coverage: Police set up checkpoint near Bacchus Marsh
The vehicle checkpoint, centred around a booze bus, is one of nine vehicle checkpoints set-up on major arterial roads.
The checkpoints, which are manned by numerous police units and are operational 24 hours a day, will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Police are also actively patrolling the areas around the checkpoint, to identify people who may be attempting to evade it.
Superintendent Jenny Wilson said police were continuing to come into contact with people from the lockdown areas who were breaching restrictions in their efforts to visit regional Victoria.
We find that very concerning given that these restrictions have now been in place for some timeSuperintendent Jenny Wilson
"We find that very concerning given that these restrictions have now been in place for some time," Superintendent Wilson said.
At the checkpoints, police are intercepting vehicles at random to ensure they are travelling for a reason in line with the restrictions.
In addition to these random checks, police are also utilising Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to detect vehicles registered to owners who live in Melbourne or Mitchell Shire.
Police are asking drivers a number of questions to confirm the reason for travel, which determines whether an infringement is issued.
Police may also ask the driver if they have documentation to support their reason for travel.
Superintendent Wilson said people could expect to be intercepted if they were attempting to travel to regional Victoria in breach of restrictions.
"We are really asking people to obey the restrictions to keep our community and their community safe," Superintendent Wilson said.
An individual found to be in breach of the Chief Health Officer's directions can be fined $1652, while businesses can be fined $9913.
The community can continue to report non-urgent crimes and breaches of restrictions to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.
An online report can also be filed at police.vic.gov.au/palolr.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.