Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has announced a number of social restrictions will be eased from midnight with businesses told they will have to wait another couple of weeks before reopening.
The state reported two new cases on Sunday and a rolling daily case count of 7.5 in metropolitan Melbourne for the fortnight up to Saturday. Regional Victoria’s two-week average is 0.5.
The statistics mean Victoria’s coronavirus death count remains at 816 and the national toll is 904.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced significant changes to Melbourne’s restrictions on movement and gatherings will come into effect from 11.59pm on Sunday.
The 5 kilometre travel restriction will be extended to 25 kilometres.
Melburnians will also be able to exercise or leave their homes for longer than the current two-hour time limit while the cap on outdoor gatherings will be increased to 10 people.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has announced a number of social restrictions will be eased in Melbourne, though businesses will have to wait a bit longer before reopening (pictured, residents jogging in Melbourne)
Melburnians will also be able to exercise or leave their homes for longer than the current two-hour time limit (pictured, Melbourne residents fishing)
Sports enthusiasts will also be allowed to play tennis or golf without having to go through a clubroom.
Skate parks and DIY car washes will reopen.
Hairdressers will also reopen and outdoor pools will be able to host 30 swimmers.
Real estate auctions will also be able to go ahead outdoors with 10 bidders.
Outdoor maintenance and repair workers, mobile pet groomers and photographers will also be allowed to return to work.
Retail businesses and pubs will have to wait until November 1 for further rollbacks.
Retail and hospitality venues will reopen with 20 people allowed inside and a maximum of 50 people seated outside.
Changes coming to Melbourne and regional Victoria
State premier Daniel Andrews announced massive changes would be coming to Melbourne from 11.59pm on Sunday.
1) The 5 kilometre travel restriction will be extended to 25 kilometres.
2) Melburnians will be able to exercise or leave their homes for longer than the current two-hour time limit.
3) Outdoor gatherings will be increased to 10 people from two different households.
4) Tennis courts, golf courses and skate parks will be reopened.
5) DIY car washes will reopen
6) Hairdressers will reopen
7) Outdoor pools will be able to host 30 swimmers
8) Real estate auctions will also be able to go ahead outdoors with 10 bidders.
9) Outdoor home maintenance, repairs and renovations permitted with maximum of five workers.
Mr Andrews also announced a number of restrictions will be lifted in regional Victoria from 11.59pm on Sunday
1) Hospitality venues will increase their capacity to 70 people outside and 40 people inside.
2) Outdoor religious gatherings will also increase to 20 people.
3) Regional and toy libraries will also be able to accommodate 20 people indoors.
The four reasons to also leave home will also be scrapped.
‘Victorians have done an amazing job over recent weeks and months,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘We in Melbourne and Victoria are well placed to have a COVID safe summer. Yes these lockdowns have come with significant pain and damage, but this strategy is working.
In regional Victoria, hospitality venues will increase their capacity to 70 people outside and 40 people inside from 11.59pm on Sunday.
Outdoor religious gatherings will also increase to 20 people. The cap will be extended to 50 people from midnight on November 1.
Mr Andrews revealed the border closure between Melbourne and regional Victoria would remain closed.
‘Victorians in every community, in every circumstance have stayed the course,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘We have just a little longer to go to beat that second wave and then find that normal and find that process of rebuilding.’
Federal health minister Greg Hunt earlier urged the Victorian government to ease restrictions in line with NSW.
‘The epidemiological conditions for a COVID-safe reopening of hospitality, movement (and) family reunions among others, have now been firmly met,’ Mr Hunt posted on Twitter on Saturday.
‘Victoria should now be able to move to the next step in line (with) NSW.’
However Mr Andrews said Mr Hunt was not an epidemiologist and accused him of ‘playing games’, before adding that he would not be rushed in reopening Victoria.
‘We are not going to risk everything that Victorians have sacrificed. And that’s why this strategy is not about racing to open up (and) running to COVID-normal – it’s about safe and steady steps,’ the premier said.
‘We are right on the edge now of defeating this second wave. It’s not occurred in many countries, if any, across the world.’
Mr Andrews has confirmed Sunday’s announcements will be ‘much more in the social space than in the economic space’, dashing the hopes of those in retail and hospitality industries.
‘We have to be conservative and careful, we have to take safe and steady steps.’
Mr Andrews said on Saturday he would not bend under pressure from some politicians who were calling for bigger rollbacks.
Mr Andrews revealed the border closure between Melbourne and regional Victoria would remain closed
Retail businesses and pubs have been told restrictions will be eased from November 1
‘Whatever I stand up here … and announce, there will be members of that federal government, some who are from Victoria but I don’t think they’re for Victoria, who will be out there saying ‘It is not enough, you should have done more’,’ he said.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he had only Victorians’ interests at heart.
‘I, like so many other Victorians — be they in the health, legal, business or broader community — will not be silenced nor stand by as our fellow Victorians lose their liberties and have their economic livelihoods damaged,’ he said.
‘We are from Victoria and we are for Victoria.’
Health authorities continue to investigate Victoria’s 15 cases for the fortnight up to Thursday which have no known source.
Health authorities continue to investigate Victoria’s 15 cases for the fortnight up to Thursday which have no known source (pictured, a COVID-19 pop-up clinic at Shepparton)
Melbourne residents enjoy a day out at the park ahead of announcements to ease restrictions in the city