We’ve been waiting with bated breath to hear what announcements Victorian premier Dan Andrews will make following a significant decrease in new cases across metropolitan Melbourne, and we finally have the answers.
For those living in metropolitan Melbourne, here are the changes coming into effect from 11.59pm tonight, Sunday October 18:
- The 5km limit for outdoor recreation and shopping has been increased to 25km – this includes exercise and outdoor activity like picnics;
- The two-hour outdoor limit has been scrapped, so there will no longer be a limit on how long you can be outside;
- Outdoor gatherings will increase to ten people from two households;
- Tennis courts, golf courses and skateparks will be able to reopen;
- Hairdressers can reopen, with strict safety protocols in place;
- Outdoor pools can host 30 swimmers, indoor pools can reopen for one-on-one hydrotherapy; and
- Outdoor photography will be allowed.
Then, from 11.59pm on Sunday, November 1:
- The four reasons to leave home will be removed;
- A maximum of two adults and dependents can visit homes, but this is limited to once a day;
- Retail stores will be able to reopen;
- Hospitality can reopen with 50 people outdoors and 20 indoors;
- Beauty and personal services can reopen, as long as a face mask can be worn;
- Contact sport for under 18 and non-contact for adults;
- Drive-in cinemas will reopen;
- Maximum of 20 for outdoor religious gatherings, weddings with ten people and funerals with 20 people;
- Outdoor seated entertainment with a maximum of 20 guests; and
- Non-seated outdoor entertainment (such as zoos) will be allowed to reopen with strict patron limits and protocols in place.
Hospitality and personal and beauty services will be able to have staff onsite for what the government is calling a “dark opening” from October 28. This means they will be able to prepare to open their doors to the public, whether that means prepping their space for outdoor dining or similar.
The “ring of steel” that separates metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria remains in place. This means you won’t be able to visit regional Victoria for a day trip. There are, however, special reasons to enter regional Victoria including for preparing properties for bushfire season.
The news comes after Melbourne recorded just two new cases for the previous day, bringing the 14-day average down to 7.5.
Andrews hinted that there could be a likelihood that those changes announced for November 1 could be brought forward a week to October 25, but it does depend on multiple factors. The premier said: "The roadmap as outlined remains in place for those steps that were foreshadowed for November and beyond, [but] that will be updated depending on whether we are able to take a step next weekend, probably for implementation in the early part of the following week. Or whether it is in fact the first of November."
Regardless of whether those changes are brought forward, Andrews was adamant that no parties, visiting pubs or visiting in the home would be permitted for Grand Final Day.
For more information on any of the announcements from today, please visit the Victorian Government website.