A big – and long awaited – announcement has come from the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews shedding light on the next step for easing restrictions for Melbourne, who have been battling away in strict lockdown for the last few months.
After stating Melbourne’s reopening was on a “cautious pause” on Sunday as authorities await the results of thousands of tests from the city’s north, the state said on Monday it had gone 24 hours without detecting any new Covid-19 cases, a milestone last achieved four months ago, raising hopes that a stringent lockdown of Melbourne will be eased. The state has also gone seven straight days without any new deaths from the virus.
Premier Daniel Andrews started today’s coronavirus update by saying that all test results from the northern Melbourne suburbs, where there has been an outbreak in recent days, have come back negative. As such, Andrews was able to announce the easing of restrictions for Melbourne.
From 11:59pm on Tuesday October 27, all retail will open. Restaurants, hotels, cafe’s and bars will reopen as well.
Indoor, there will be a maximum of 20 people, seated, with 10 people per space. Outdoor, a maximum of 50 people with one person per two square metres. Beauty, personal services and Tattooing, provided you can wear a mask, will reopen.
There will be a dark opening, that is to say, staff required to make the business ready for trading and, importantly, not just good enough to be ready must be COVID as well, they are able to attend the work place immediately, forthwith they are able to do that work to be ready for midnight tomorrow night.
Outdoor community sport for under 18 and outdoor noncontact sport for adults will recommence as well. The four reasons to leave home will be removed.
The 25 kilometre travel limit remains in place and the regional metropolitan border remains in place. Other major changes, outdoor gatherings remain at a maximum of 10 people, infants under 12 months are not included in the calculation of 10 and gatherings will no longer be limited to just two households to can be more than two households but the group cannot exceed 10.
Weddings will increase to a maximum of 10 people. Funerals will increase to a maximum of 20 mourners.
In terms of faith and religious gatherings and we know how important this has been for many people of faith across the community, indoor there will be a maximum of 10 people plus a faith leader. Outdoor there will be a maximum of 20 people plus one faith leader.
Mr Andrews reiterated that homes are one of the most dangerous settings for the spread of the virus. He said more detail about restrictions homes will come out tomorrow.
“You will be able to visit people, that won’t be until tomorrow night, and we won’t announce the details of that until tomorrow because, frankly, one of biggest challenges we have ceiling on a model that is both simple and safe,” Mr Andrews said.
Following on from these changes, the state will be one again from November 8, says Daniel Andrews where Melbourne will be able to meet regional Victoria at the same level. That means the same eased restrictions that apply to regional Victoria will also apply to Melbourne.
The changes from November 8 are as follows:
-25-kilometre travel limit will lift
-The metropolitan Melbourne regional border will lift
-Gyms and fitness studios will open, with a maximum of 20 people per space, one person per 8 square metres
-Restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars will move to an indoor maximum of 40 with 10 people per space, an outdoor maximum of 70 people with one person every 2 square metres.
-Faith gatherings will allow a maximum of 50 people, plus one faith leader, outdoors; indoors will be 20 people maximum plus one faith leader
-Funerals: 20 mourners indoors; 50 mourners outdoors
-Indoor community sport, non-contact sport for under-18 and sports capable of 1.5-metre social distancing can operate
-Indoor pools will open for up to 20 people
-Accommodation will also reopen
As for the rest of the year and what Christmas may look like, Mr Andrews said that will become available later, following these restrictions on November 8.
These changes are huge for Melbourne, but Andrews cautions that it’s not over because COVID-19 is still part of our lives.
“Fundamentally, this belongs to every single Victorian, every single Victorian who has followed the rules, stayed the course, worked with me and my team, to bring this second wave to an end. But it is not over,” he says.
“This virus is not going away. It is going to continue to be a feature of our lives, it is going to be a feature of our lives every day until a vaccine turns up.”
“We are all in this together and just as we have stayed the course, and yes we have stayed apart, but remained fundamentally connected as a strong and united state, we have to be vigilant in the weeks and months to come. Until a vaccine comes, there is no normal, there is only COVID-19 normal.”
Thank you, Victoria. pic.twitter.com/n7bkWikL6b
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) October 26, 2020