COVID-19: Victoria's stringent stage 4 lockdown taken to Supreme Court

A struggling restaurateur is seeking to have Melbourne's stringent curfew and public health order overturned, arguing it breaches the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Restaurant owner and mother Michelle Loielo claims the city's curfew - which initially required residents to remain at home between 8pm and 5am - is illegal, violating her right to freedom, liberty and security, 7 News reports.

As of Monday officials have relaxed the restriction slightly, allowing Melbourne residents an extra hour in the evening with curfew beginning at 9pm.

Loielo, a single mother based in Mornington Peninsula, says the ongoing restrictions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak are significantly impacting small businesses as she struggles to keep her restaurant afloat.

A legal challenge to Victoria's restrictive public health measures has now been launched in court, with Loielo's lawyers lodging the documents in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday.

Loielo's attorney, Marcus Clarke QC, is arguing the curfew is invalid on grounds of irrationality and illogicality.

Court documents obtained by 7 News say the restrictions are not reasonably proportionate and not based on relevant and reliable evidence in line with public health laws.

Michelle Loielo with MP Edward O'Donohue.
Michelle Loielo with MP Edward O'Donohue. Photo credit: Edward O'Donohue MP / Facebook

A class action lawsuit has also been brought against Victoria over the state's second wave of COVID-19 cases in a separate action. Attorney Tony Carbones argues the government should be held accountable for the number of lost jobs across the state, with 99 percent of infections stemming from the botched quarantine programme.

On Tuesday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced restrictions will be dramatically eased in regional Victoria from 11:59pm on Wednesday (local time). 

The state recorded 42 new cases on Tuesday and - for the first time since July 13 - no new virus-related deaths.

However, residents of Mornington Peninsula - where Loielo is also based - are outraged by the decision. The local government area is considered part of metropolitan Melbourne, situated roughly 75 kilometres southeast of the city centre.

The shire has recorded fewer cases than Geelong, a city southwest of Melbourne, but remains under lockdown.

Rob Pitt, the owner of Hotel Sorrento, told 7 News he fears the deserted Main Street will never recover if it endures another six weeks of restrictions.

Premier Andrews has remained firm on regional boundaries, telling reporters that the definition of what's considered metropolitan and what's considered regional "will remain in place".

Of Australia's 26,738 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 19,911 have been recorded in Victoria. The country's death toll currently stands at 816 - 729 of which died in Victoria.