Thousands of $200 holiday vouchers on offer for FREE

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Thousands of Victorians will be given free $200 holiday vouchers to help regional hospitality and tourism businesses hit hard by Covid-19 lockdowns.

Acting Premier James Merlino made the announcement on Sunday to reinvigorate the state’s embattled sector.

‘Today we are announcing a $32.2million package to provide a further round of the very popular regional tourism vouchers,’ Mr Merlino said.  

There will be 80,000 vouchers in total, which comprises 10,000 new vouchers and an extra 70,000 that were unclaimed in a previous scheme. 

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Information on how the freebies can be claimed will be available at a later date.

The multi million-dollar boost includes $16million for 80,000 regional tourism vouchers, $11.8million tourism supplement for operators, and $4.4million for the alpine support package  for ski and mountain operators.

Snow sports businesses will receive grants of up to $15,000 to help them comply with Covid-19 safety restrictions.  

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‘This is particularly important because for a period of time we will have different settings from metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria and that will include the long weekend,’ Mr Merlino said.

‘We knew that this is tough on everyone, tough on all businesses, and a particularly tough period for tourism and accommodation.’

Victoria recorded four new local Covid-19 cases on Sunday.

Mr Merlino said the cases were primary close contacts of existing cases and included a person in their 50s linked to the Port Melbourne finance exposure site and a primary school teacher linked to the West Melbourne cluster.

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In the aged care facility, one case is a 79-year-old resident who was staying in a room close to two other residents who previously tested positive to the virus.

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‘The resident, who has had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, is asymptomatic but will be transferred to hospital for public health reasons,’ he said.

The second is an agency nurse who had been working at the facility on Saturday. They had already received their first dose of the vaccine.

The new cases bring the total number of active cases in the state to 85, with 72 in the Melbourne cluster that has brought the city into lockdown for a fourth time.

Victoria’s deputy chief health officer Allen Cheng said he doesn’t expect the lockdown in Melbourne – which was extended until Thursday – will be lifted sooner despite the relatively low number of cases and high vaccination numbers.

Mr Merlino added he would wait for the advice from health authorities before even considering easing restrictions.