Melbourne people who break the rules and enter regional Victoria illegally will be fined almost $5000 under a new fine to be introduced as of midnight on Wednesday.
The new law, designed to minimise the spread of COVID-19 in regional Victoria, was announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The new offence has been labelled "failure to comply with requirements to remain in a restricted area" and comes with a $4957 fine.
It will apply to all people illegally leaving Melbourne to enter the regions. The existing $1652 for illegal travel within Melbourne remain.
Ballarat Police Superintendent Jenny Wilson said it will take a joint effort to keep the community safe.
"I'm looking at this really as a joint responsibility," she said.
"We're working together with the community to keep our community safe.
"From a policing point of view, we will continue to have designated police patrols to deal with reported COVID incidents and COVID breaches."
She added that businesses will play a large role in this partnership, as they must follow COVID-safe guidelines to keep their patrons and staff safe from unlawful tourists.
"There is a responsibility from our businesses within our community to do the right thing," she continued.
"Our businesses have the right to refuse service to people if they feel uncomfortable or feel as though they are serving someone who is breaching COVID-19 restrictions. You always have the option of calling the police in those situations... we all want to keep our community safe.
"We're looking at working with retailers and cafes next week in terms of changes that are taking place there."
Looking at handling people coming into the region unlawfully, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said the new fine will be coupled with increased police presence on the roads.
The seven permanent checkpoints will be vastly increased in strength and there will be additional police presence on other roads.
Cars filled with suspected holidaymakers, either towing caravans or boats or loaded with holiday equipment, will be particularly in the sights of police.
Public transport will also be closely monitored.
"We will be highly visible and active to prevent people entering regional areas, particularly during the school holidays," Deputy Commissioner Nugent said.
"We don't want the virus to spread again into the regions.
"If there's mum and dad, they both get the fine, so that's almost $10,000."
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Deputy Commissioner Nugent said there would also be extra resources on the backroads, with automatic number plate recognition being used to identify Melbourne motorists.
He said in terms of delays at the checkpoints, police had previously tried to maintain a 15-minute delay. However, this wait is expected to be greatly extended in the future.
It was also revealed it is legal for regional people to drive through metropolitan Melbourne in order to get through to the other side of Victoria.
"We want to check as many vehicles as we can possibly check," he said.
"The aim is to check every car."
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