Dozens of Melbourne residents have been turned away from Ballarat venues after breaking Melbourne's COVID restrictions over the weekend.
With Melburnians unable to visit regional Victoria across the long weekend, some have been caught flouting the restrictions and attempting to visit cafes and restaurants in Ballarat's CBD.
The Courier understands up to a dozen Melbourne residents attempted to sit down at a Sturt Street cafe on the weekend only to be turned away after staff conducted ID checks.
This was confirmed by a nearby business that was also visited by a large number of Melburnians over the weekend.
Other businesses, however, did not have as much trouble with turning away Melbourne visitors.
Racers Cafe barista Natalya Munro said while most people adhered to the rules, some without proof of address were turned away.
"When we get busy, it's a long process to get everyone seated and checked in," she said.
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"We've got a station set-up at the front door with a sheet saying all the postcodes to avoid which has been helpful.
"We've really got everyone on the ball. As soon as they walk in the door, we've got someone there checking.
"There's only one couple I can remember but I think they were from some area in Melbourne but they did say they had stayed at a beach house somewhere over the past month.
"We've only turned away people if they didn't have evidence of an address."
Australian Hotels Association Victoria president David Canny, who also owns the Red Lion Hotel, said pubs were used to checking ID from previous lockdowns but there was some confusion for people who normally reside in Melbourne but were currently based in regional Victoria.
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"There are some people who have been working in the regions for quite some time, so there's a little bit of an overlap or confusion about whether they're allowed in but overall I think venues have done it exceptionally well," he said.
"If they can't show cause, with the capacities being so low, we're having no trouble filling the pubs. We just hope those rules are changed later in the week and we don't have to worry about past Friday, both checking IDs and the capacity numbers.
"We need to lift those capacities and welcome people back into the regions because we need the tourism, we need them back."
Victoria Police is continuing to undertake Operation Sentinel to enforce the directions of the Chief Health Officer, including the directive for Melburnians to only travel up to 25 kilometres from their homes and not to regional Victoria to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Acting Superintendent Paul Bertoncello encouraged anybody concerned about people being in the region who were not authorised to be to report their concerns to the Police Assistance Line.
He said there were several levels of patrols being undertaken as part of Operation Sentinel locally, contributing to a highly visible police presence.
Police are patrolling the region on foot and in vehicles, with a taskforce conducting proactive spot checks in public places and businesses to ensure compliance with the directions.
Further, some units are being deployed on arterial roads, such as the Western Freeway, to check vehicles travelling from Melbourne into the region.
This is being done through the use of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology fitted in some police vehicles, such as highway patrol cars, to scan car registration details and identify the addresses of licence holders.
Anyone concerned about breaches is encouraged to make a report to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.
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