There'll be a strong police presence throughout the south-west as coronavirus restrictions ease significantly in Warrnambool and regional Victoria.
South-west police Superintendent Martin Hardy said the community could expect a "highly visible police presence" in the area when regional Victoria moves to step three of the roadmap to 'COVID Normal' from 11.59pm Wednesday.
He said a strong focus would be placed on road safety compliance and social distrancing requirements.
"We will be keeping a watchful eye out for people flouting social distancing rules as well as those who might attempt to travel to regional Victoria from metro areas," Superintendent Hardy said.
"There will be people who are no doubt tempted to travel from Melbourne but we just have to remain vigilant. Our police colleagues up in Melbourne will also be manning those vehicle check point areas."
Superintendent Hardy urged the community to not "run around like cattle that's just escaped from the barn".
"The doors have not been completely unlocked and it's a timely reminder that social distancing requirements and the wearing of masks will still apply," he said.
"While we are very appreciative of the community doing what they have done in terms of complying with the restrictions, we know people will now be starting to get out and about on the roads and there remains certain aspects of the Chief Health officer's guidelines that need to be adhered to."
Superintendent Hardy said members would "certainly be looking at our major highways and people moving in and around the region".
"Our focus will be road users and compliance with road safety," he said.
"There will be increased traffic on our highways and it is important to get your vehicle checked if you haven't been using it for a while.
"Take your time on the roads because there'll no doubt be a lot of people eager and keen to get out and enjoy our beautiful surrounds but we will be out there ensuring motorists are being mindful of and practicing road safety."
The superintendent said members would also be stationed in and around the Warrnambool CBD and other major south-west town centres.
"We know there will be easing of restrictions for cafes and restaurants and we will be working with local councils and business owners to ensure people are adhering to the rules," he said.
"Outdoor dining needs to be dining rather than drinking without meals and all venues must have a COVID safe plan. That will be a strong focus going forward as we work with local councils."
Superintendent Hardy implored the community to abide by DHHS guidelines, particularly those involving gatherings in public and in homes.
"The more right we do, the less likely of an outbreak and the closer we get to the next stage (of restrictions)," he said.
"We've had a lot of support from the community reporting potential COVID breaches and we are still taking those on board through Crime Stoppers and our Police Assistance Line.
"The key message is to just take a step back, breathe, enjoy the outdoors and the easing of restrictions but be mindful of other road users and know there will be a heavy police presence all throughout the south-west region."
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