Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced sweeping changes to Melbourne’s coronavirus restrictions, saying 'now is the time to open up'.
Melburnians have endured one of the world’s longest coronavirus lockdowns but they will have some relief from midnight on Tuesday as the city’s lockdown ends and widespread changes to restrictions are introduced.
The state recorded zero coronavirus cases on Monday and Tuesday, paving the way for Premier Daniel Andrews to declare that “now is the time to open up” the city.
No reason needed to leave home
From Wednesday the four designated reasons to leave home will be lifted, meaning Melburnians can now leave home for any reason - or for no reason at all.
However, there will be limits to the distance you can travel from your home for just a little while longer.
The 25-kilometre limit will remain in place until midnight on 8 November to prevent Melburnians congregating in popular locations such as the Mornington Peninsula and the Dandenong Ranges.
Before 9 November, city residents will still not be allowed to travel outside of metropolitan Melbourne to regional Victoria.
After this date, the "ring of steel" will go and the city and state will become one again.
Home visits allowed again
Melburnians will be able to visit one another at home once again, but there are some tight restrictions.
There is a cap of two adult visitors per house, plus any dependents who cannot be left alone, per day.
While there is no time limit on how long visits can last for, people cannot travel further than 25km of their own place of residence for the visit.
Only one private gathering can occur per party.
Explaining the rules on Tuesday, Mr Andrews gave this example: "Mum and dad and two children can go and visit grandma and grandpa, provided they’re within 25km, [and] they can be there for as long as they choose to be there -but once they leave, neither they can go and visit anybody else, nor can grandma and grandpa have other visitors to their home that day."
The government is also asking that people keep a record of who has been to their home and when, so that information can be of assistance to contact tracers in the event of an outbreak.
Mr Andrews acknowledged the rules would likely prove difficult for sharehouses and inhabitants would need to alternate who receives guests each day.
Cafes and pubs to open doors
Bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes, which have been operating for takeaway-only, will reopen for seated customers from Wednesday, though strict limits on the number of patrons will be enforced.
Venues will be allowed to serve a maximum of 20 indoor patrons at a time throughout the venue, and a maximum of 10 people per indoor space.
Outdoor seating will be limited to 50 people per venue.
Density limits will operate for both indoor and outdoor venues, and venues will be required to have COVID-safe plans and take the details of customers.
Retail to reopen
Retail will reopen from Wednesday onwards, as well as beauty services and tattoo parlours.
Questions over household gatherings
Outdoor gatherings will remain at a limit of 10 people, but the prior restrictions of those people only being from up to two households will be lifted.
The ban on indoor household gatherings will also be lifted, though the details of what restrictions will be in place have yet to be announced.
Premier Andrews said the details of what limits would be in place for household gatherings would be announced on Tuesday.
Religious gatherings and ceremonies
Up to 10 people plus one faith leader will be allowed to gather for indoor religious gatherings, with up to 20 people plus one faith leader allowed outdoors.
Weddings will be allowed to have up to 10 people, while up to 20 mourners will be allowed to gather at outdoor funerals.
Outdoor community sport
Outdoor community sport for under 18s and outdoor non-contact sport for adults will also recommence.
What will change from 9 November
The ban on travel outside of metropolitan Melbourne will lift at midnight on 8 November, with other major restrictions also lifting at this time. These will include:
- The reopening of gyms and fitness studios, which will allow a maximum of 20 people.
- Restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars will be allowed to accomodate 40 people indoors and 70 outdoors.
- Religious gatherings will permit 20 people plus one faith leader for indoor events, and up to 50 people for outdoor activities.
- Funerals will be allowed to take place indoors with up to 20 mourners, with 50 permitted to gather for outdoor services.
- Some sport will be able to operate indoors, including non-contact sport for under 18s and sports able to abide by 1.5-metre distancing rules.
- Indoor pools will allow up to 20 people.
Workers across all sectors are still being advised to work from home if they can.
All Melburnians will still be required to wear a mandatory face mask when leaving the home, despite the relaxing of other rules.
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.
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