A Wimmera restaurant owner is hoping more Melburnians acquaint themselves with Victoria's COVID-19 rules for travelling to regional Victoria, after an anxious experience for them and their staff on Tuesday.
The owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said a family from Melbourne tried to dine in.
"They actually said they were from Melbourne," the owner told the Mail-Times.
"They said they had a work permit, but the woman came with her children - she said she couldn't leave them behind.
"They said they wanted to dine in, and I said 'you're only allowed to have takeaways'. She wasn't aware of it but she should have been. And I said I was quite happy for them to sit out the front and have it, so that's what they did, they had it in takeaway containers out the front."
While regional Victoria is in the third step of restrictions easing, Melbourne is only in the second step. The second step applies to Melburnians even when they are carrying out permitted work in regional Victoria, meaning they cannot dine at a restaurant or have a beauty treatment.
The owner said the woman's husband returned at lunchtime.
"He sat on the takeaway seats ready to leave, then I noticed he was sitting at a table dining in," they said.
"So I had to go up to him and say 'Sorry, you've got takeaways, but you're not allowed to eat in inside'.
"We had to disinfect all the seats they were sitting on, and even the ones out the front.
"My staff were very nervous as well. They didn't want to touch anything the family had touched, and we had customers that overheard me asking them to leave, and they said well done and they were angry that I had to ask them.
"Melbourne people need to be aware that they cannot do that here. We have had no cases, we don't want any more cases."
The owner said they had reported the incident to police through a COVID-19 hotline.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said incidents of this nature would be "tasked to the appropriate police unit to investigate, which may include local police or Operation Sentinel or in some instances DHHS".
"While we won't be going into specific methodology into how we conduct our investigations," she said, "we want to reassure the community that police make thorough enquiries to determine whether a breach of the Chief Health Officer's directions have occurred."
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The Mail-Times has contacted the Department of Health and Human Services for comment.
Earlier this week it was revealed two people in Kilmore, 60km north of Melbourne, tested positive for coroanvirus after coming into contact with someone in a Melbourne cluster. One of the Kilmore cases is a worker at the Oddfellows Cafe, where a person connected to the Chadstone outbreak dined on September 30.
In Kaniva, Travellers Inn motel owner Bobby Kumar is also concerned about people visiting from restricted areas. He is still only accepting business from essential workers.
"I have got a lot of phone calls and people have just been dishonest," he said.
"I have people ringing, saying they are coming from the other side of Melbourne. When they arrive here, I check IDs and it says they are from St Kilda.
"Our town is very safe - we haven't got a single COVID case, so I don't want to be the first one to introduce that to the community. I'd rather be safe than sorry.
"We are all suffering (business wise), but like I say to people I'd rather be poor with a healthy family than rich with a person missing at the dinner table."
Police suggest people that witness a suspected breach contact them on 131 444 or file a report online.
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