Melburnians will be able to move within 25km of their homes and socialise more freely outdoors.
Melbourne residents will soon be able to travel up to 25 kilometres from their home and socialise and exercise outdoors without time limits under new changes to Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions.
Outdoor gatherings will also be increased to a maximum of 10 people from two households from midnight on Sunday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said as he outlined the new roadmap out of lockdown on Sunday.
At the same time, tennis courts, skate parks, outdoor pools, golf clubs, and hairdressers will also be permitted to reopen, while real estate auctions and inspections can resume under social distancing restrictions.
After five days of single-digit case numbers, the Premier has been under pressure from federal politicians to open up the state inline with neighbouring New South Wales, but said he would not be rushed into lifting restrictions.
“I have announced today what is safe but will not undermine the sacrifice, the hard work, the pain, the amazing efforts that Victorians have put in,” he said. “You cannot run, you cannot sprint to COVID normal. You have to do this in a measured, steady and safe way.”
Two new cases and zero coronavirus deaths were recorded in the 24 hours before Mr Andrews’ announcement on Saturday, following a single new case the previous day.
Further restrictions will be eased for Melbourne on 1 November, Mr Andrews said, including the lifting of the rule that permits people to leave the home for only four reasons; exercise, to buy essential goods, permitted work and health or caregiving. Two people plus any children will also be able to visit a home once-a-day.
Retail, personal care, and hospitality businesses will also be allowed to reopen, with restaurants, pubs, and cafes allowed to host 20 people inside and a further 50 customers outside at any one time.
Under this step, travel from Melbourne to regional Victoria will still be outlawed, other than specific cases where Melbourne residents need to prepare properties in regional areas for flood or bushfire conditions.
Meanwhile, residents of regional Victoria will be able to have two adults and any children over to their home, hospitality venues will be able to expand their capacity to 70 patrons outside and another 40 inside, and religious gatherings will increase to 20 people.
From the 1 November, non-contact indoor sports, such as dance classes, can restart for under 18-year-olds with a 20 person limit and indoor pools can open with a maximum of non-adult 20 swimmers.
Under the original roadmap to COVID-normal, Melbourne was scheduled to move into the “third step” on 26 October, contingent on the state recording fewer than five new daily cases across a 14-day average and no more than five mystery cases in the same period.
As of Sunday, Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average sat at 7.5 with 15 cases with an unknown source in the fortnight to 15 October.
More to come.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.