The city of Melbourne will wake up tomorrow (Wednesday) morning to a different world as the state government rolls back many of the virus-related restrictions, with further easing of measures due on 8 November.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced yesterday that lockdown would finally come to an end at midnight tonight after no new cases of infection were reported over the weekend.
“With zero [new] cases and so much testing over the weekend, not just in the north but across the whole state, we are able to say that now is the time to open up. Now is the time to congratulate every single Victorian for staying the course,” Andrews said.
‘Ring of steel’ will stay
However, the 25km travel limit will remain for Melbourne residents until 8 November, as will the so-called ‘ring of steel’ between Greater Melbourne and regional Victoria. Thereafter, as the Premier put it, “the state will be one again”.
Masks will also be one of the measures that will stay for the foreseeable future.
“Masks are incredibly important. Difficult, you know, [and] not particularly pleasant. But for a very low cost we get potentially a very, very high benefit,” Andrews told a media briefing.
No return to the office
“That’s why we’re going to persist with those for a while. We’re not quite sure how long.”
Also not on the cards soon is returning to workplaces unless absolutely necessary.
“We’ll get people back into offices as quickly as we can and as safely as we can,” Andrews said. “It won’t be everyone going in at once; de facto crowds [of] 20, 30, 40 people all jammed in close for hours on end. We have to be cautious about that.”
Hospitality outlets open
From midnight, retail and hospitality outlets in Melbourne can open again and be allowed to seat patrons, including inside. But there are restrictions on patron numbers and the one person per four square metres rule will apply outside and a two square metre rule will apply inside.
Wedding numbers will increase to a maximum of 10 people and the number of permissible funeral mourners will rise to 20 people. Religious gatherings are capped at 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors.
Outdoor gatherings are capped at 10 people, but they can be drawn from multiple households.
Visiting other people at their homes is allowed, but some limits will apply. These have yet to be finalised and will be announced at an upcoming press conference by the Premier.