For the first time in a long time, Victorians eagerly watched Premier Dan Andrews’ press conference prepped for some good news. The daily updates have proven to be a gloomy reminder of the COVID-19 risk, with tallies regularly in the hundreds. However, Monday’s announcement was met with some major positivity, with Andrews revealing many of Melbourne’s restrictions would be lifted after months of lockdown.
The easing of the Melbourne restrictions comes after the state recorded its first day of zero cases in more than four months, prompting the Premier to roll back some of the more strict policies.
“The last time Victoria had zero cases was 9 June, 139 days ago. Even more incredibly, it’s zero cases off the back of a huge testing drive,” Andrews said in a statement. “Over the course of this weekend, we asked Victorians living in our northern suburbs to get tested. They did just that. In 24 hours, we have been able to process an additional 14,024 tests — 3196 of them from these communities. This morning we’ve processed an extra 1157. And not a single new case has been found.”
Melbourne Restrictions Explained
Premier Andrews went on to explain that as of 11:59pm Monday, hospitality, retail and beauty services were permitted to reopen, and the four reasons to leave home were scrapped. Further to that, the Premier also announced that from 11:59pm on November 8, the 25km-radius travel limit will be dropped and travel between Melbourne and regional Victoria will be permitted.
Under the ‘Third Step’, Melbourne’s cafes, restaurants and pubs can reopen. Outdoors with a limit of up to 50, indoors up to 20. Density limits, record keeping and COVIDSafe Plans also apply.
Further to that, beauty and personal care services will resume, with businesses that need to get ready for their reopening — staff will be able to attend onsite straight away.
It’s a massive win for Victorians across the state. The harsh lockdown restrictions have hit the cultural capital hard, with many of the lively bars, restaurants and clubs we’ve come to know shutting up shop. It’s been a challenging year, no doubt, but for the first time in months, it’s time to ‘get on the beers’.
Melbourne Step 3 Restrictions Now
As per Premier Daniel Andrews’ Monday announcement, here is a list of the changes to Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions. From 11:59pm 27 October, under Step 3;
- Cafes, restaurants and pubs can reopen. Outdoors with a limit of up to 50, indoors up to 20. Density limits, record keeping and COVIDSafe Plans also apply.
- Beauty and personal care services can resume.
- Outdoor contact sport for those aged 18 and under will resume.
- Non-contact sport for adults is back.
- PT, fitness and dance classes can also be held outdoors with up to ten people, and the number of people at outdoor pools can increase to 50, subject to density limits.
- Libraries and community venues will be able to open for outdoor events.
- Outdoor entertainment venues can begin hosting visitors.
- Faith communities will be able to meet for outdoor religious ceremonies with up to 20 people, in addition to those required for the service. Indoor services can be held with up to 10.
- Weddings will increase to ten people, and funerals up to 20.
- Workplaces will no longer need to be on the permitted work list to open and the ability to work will change to “if you can work from home you must work from home”.
- While the boundary is in place, work permits will still be required for workers from Melbourne travelling into regional Victoria — and vice versa.
Melbourne Restrictions in the Future
While Andrews is expected to make a further announcement later today, the Premier has already outlined some additional restrictions to take effect from 8 November.
“I know the thing many people are missing is having people over to visit — but as we’ve seen, this virus is at its most dangerous when we’re indoors and relaxed and comfortable,” Andrew said. “It’s why we’re going to take the next 24 hours to understand how we might be able to make this work — safely.
From 8 November, Melbourne restrictions are set to ease, including;
- The 25km limit will come off and Melbourne will be able to meet regional Victoria at the same level.
- The capacity of pubs and restaurants will increase, with up to 40 inside and 70 outside.
- Religious gatherings will expand with up 20 people and a faith leader indoors, and 50 outside.
- Gyms and indoor fitness will be able to reopen — with some strict safety precautions in place.
- Accommodation will also reopen.
For now, a lot rests on Victoria’s ability to remain safe and secure without an increase in community transmissions. Should everything continue travelling in the direction we are hoping, it appears a festive season may be in the works.
“I want to thank everyone who did the right thing by their community and our state in getting tested. I also want to thank the nurses, lab technicians, collectors, couriers — everyone who has been working around the clock to process these tests,” Premier Andrews said.
“Because of that effort, we’ve been able to get the results faster than we thought. These results give us confidence — confidence that even if we do identify positive cases in any further tests — we are firmly on top of this virus.”