Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has come good on his promise, announcing significant changes to the state’s COVID restrictions during a press conference on Sunday, October 18.
Today, there are now just 137 active cases of COVID-19 across Victoria, with only seven active cases in regional Victoria. Of the two cases revealed on Sunday morning, one is connected to a known outbreak, while the other case is being investigated. There were no deaths across Friday from the virus in Victoria. This brings the rolling 14-day average in metropolitan Melbourne to 7.5, and 0.5 in regional Victoria.
“Victorians have done an amazing job over recent weeks and months,” he said.
“What it means is that as so many cities across the world head into what is going to be a deadly winter, we in Melbourne and across Victoria are well-placed to have a COVIDSafe summer and a COVID normal 2021.
“Today, and on the strength of that success, we’ve been able to progress a number of changes. I know these changes can’t be absolutely everything everyone wants. But they are the steps we can safely take that will make life a little bit easier.”
From 11:59pm tonight in regional Victoria, Andrews revealed the following changes:
- Two people plus dependence are allowed into the home. The bubble is gone, you can have as many different families visit you but they can only be two adults and dependence at a time per day.
- Hospitality venues can increase their capacity to 70 people outside and 40 people inside. Four groups of 10, instead of two groups of 10
- Outdoor religious gatherings will increase to 20 people.
- Indoor pools will open for 18 and under, a maximum of 20 swimmers.
- One-on-one hydrotherapy with health professionals will also be allowed.
- Libraries, toy libraries will open again, a maximum of 20 people.
- Households can visit a care facility rather than one person at a time.
This is incredible news for regional Victorian hospo venues, who can now see more people come through their business in a given time period.
Then from 11:59pm on Sunday, November 1, in regional Victoria:
- Indoor physical recreation for under 18 -year-olds, for instance dance classes, will be allowed again with a maximum of 20 people.
- Non-contact indoor community support for under 18 -year-olds with limits on spectators, that will be allowed again also.
Alongside regional Victoria’s restrictions, Andrews announced significant changes to restrictions for Metro Melbourne, which will see social pressures eased amongst the city after more than 100 days of a hard lockdown.
From 11:59pm tonight in Metro Melbourne, Andrews has revealed the following changes:
- There will be no time limit to leave your home for exercising or socialising.
- The radius you can leave your home will extend from 5km to 25km.
- Ten people from two households can gather outside.
- Tennis, skate parks, golf and hairdressers will be back open.
- Real estate auctions will occur with a maximum of 10 people and commercial real estate inspections can occur.
- Outdoor pools can host 30 swimmers.
- Indoor pools can open up for one-on-one hydrotherapy with a health professional.
Subject to being COVID-safe:
- Non-essential outdoor home maintenance, repairs, renovations, house painting, can occur with a maximum of five workers.
- Solo or automated car washing and poor cleaning will be allowed.
- Mobile or home business pet grooming will be allowed, outdoor photography will be allowed, and there will be a full return of allied health services.
Those keen to travel to regional Victoria will still not be allowed, with the ‘Ring of Steel’ separating it from metropolitan Melbourne to remain.
“We need to wait just a bit longer – until 11:59pm on 1 November – to take the rest of the Third Step that will see retail, hospitality and personal care services open again,” Andrews said about Melbourne’s restrictions. This is a timeline that is based on the current advice of the public health team.
“But if we continue to track well on the most important indicators – case averages, mystery cases, test numbers and the number of days people wait before they get tested – we may be in a position to move sooner.”
So from 11:59pm on Sunday, November 1 in Metro Melbourne:
- The four reasons to leave home will be removed.
- A maximum of two people plus dependence, once-a-day, will be able to visit homes. Not a bubble, not an exclusive arrangement, but essentially one family, two adults and children, to your home, once-a-day. No more often than that.
- Retail will open back up.
- Hospitality, a maximum of 20 people inside and 50 people outside, will reopen.
- Beauty and personal services will return.
- Contact sport for under 18-year-olds and non-contact for adults will recommence. A maximum of
- 20 people will be allowed for outdoor religious gatherings.
- A maximum of 10 people will be allowed at weddings.
- A maximum of 20 mourners at funerals.
- Outdoor seated entertainment can host a maximum of 50 people or 25 per cent of the venue’s fixed seat capacity.
Thanks to everyone's incredible patience, hard work and exhaustive effort Victorians are finally seeing lifted restrictions. I'm so grateful to everyone.
— Liam Esler (@liamesler) October 18, 2020
Following Australia’s bushfire season, Premier Dan Andrews also revealed that people from metropolitan Melbourne who have a second property in regional Victoria will be allowed to travel to that property, solely for the reason of fire or flood managment.
Mr Andrews said it was not a reason to spend a few days in regional Victoria. Permits will be required and it will be monitered by authorities.
“Staying safe is more important than ever. So please, keep wearing a mask, keep maintaining your distance – and if you feel sick, get tested and stay home.
“I understand that for some these changes won’t be enough. They’ll want more – and they’ll want it sooner. But the whole way through this, we have been guided by our public health experts and their advice.
“None of us ever want to do this again. We have come too far – sacrificed too much – to give up now. We are so close. These are the safe, steady steps that will see us out of this – and see us through to the other side.”
For more information on the announcement, visit the Premier of Victoria website.