THERE has never been a more important time to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus than the Easter weekend, governments say.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Bendigo mayor Margaret O'Rourke all delivered the same message on Tuesday: Stay at home.
Both Mr Morrison and Mr Andrews warned efforts to manage the spread of coronavirus could quickly come undone.
Leaders at all levels acknowledged staying at home would be challenging at a time families and friends would ordinarily be together.
But this was no ordinary Easter, and to treat it as such would expose too many people too high a risk.
"I think the hardest part about Easter this year will be that extended families will not be able to come together and people won't be able to meet up with friends, go away for the long weekend or invite people to visit in Greater Bendigo," Cr O'Rourke said.
"As tempting as it may be to make an exception, please do not do this.
"The COVID-19 health advice is in place to save lives and stop the spread of this highly infections virus. Please keep doing the right thing - the wellbeing of our community depends on it.
The City of Greater Bendigo reminded residents gatherings were restricted to groups of two, with the exception of immediate family and household members.
It was important people did not go away to holiday, not even to remote camping sites, and did not invite people to visit.
Premier Daniel Andrews made a point of distinguishing the long weekend from a holiday weekend.
"If people go about their business and have a normal Easter then all of our hard-won gains will just be frittered away," he said.
"This is a matter of life and death.
"We've achieved a lot these last three weeks, let's not put that at risk by pretending we can have not just an Easter long weekend but an Easter holiday."
Cr O'Rourke discouraged people from panic buying ahead of supermarket closures on Good Friday.
"There will be enough food and supplies for everyone, provided people buy in moderation and do not panic buy and hoard items," she said.
"Major supermarkets are only closed for one day, so I ask that people are sensible and buy only what they need."
She encouraged residents to plan appropriately, including if they intended to get takeaway fish and chips.
They ought to call ahead to place their orders, and be courteous and avoid crowding together when collecting them.
"I also ask business owners to take an active role in managing the number of people inside their shops and ensure people keep 1.5 metres apart, even if they have to stand outside, Cr O'Rourke said.
"I hope our residents have a peaceful Easter break and everyone continues to play a critical role part in flattening the curve and lessening the rate of infection."
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