Melbourne could be set for another two weeks of Stage 4 restrictions, according to a leaked draft of Victoria’s roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown.
The document, published on Thursday by the Herald Sun, signals that from September 14 only a handful of small concessions could be made for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, with more significant moves pencilled in for September 28.
While the state government has said the document is out of date, it gives an indication to Victorians of what to expect come Sunday when Premier Daniel Andrews reveals his two separate plans for Melbourne and the rest of the state.
An extension of the main restrictions is in line with what Federal Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth said earlier this week that it appeared the state was not ready to exit Stage 4 by September 13.
Mr Andrews and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton have also repeatedly said they can not promise substantial changes by that date.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia there was “nothing substantial” at this point in terms of a roadmap in place in response to the leaked information.
Mr Andrews told reporters on Thursday the leaked document was “out of date” and had “no status”.
What the new rules may be
The leaked information says libraries are set to open and time for exercise outside the home would be increased to two hours a day from September 14, double the one hour allowed currently.
Two people or a household will be able to meet outdoors for social interaction and single persons or single-parent households will be allowed to have a visitor to their home.
Then, from September 28, the current 8pm to 5am curfew in Melbourne could be lifted and the phased return of primary and secondary students to schools would begin, according to the draft.
Up to five people, including children, from up to two households will be allowed to meet outdoors for social interaction, the Herald Sun cited the draft as saying.
Permits will no longer be required for childcare and in-home child minding.
Outdoor personal training will be allowed for up to two people per trainer and outdoor pools will open for exercise for up to 20 people at a time.
Hospitality and retail sectors eagerly await roadmap
On Thursday, Victoria’s daily coronavirus infections have jumped back above 100 on Thursday, despite reassurances this week from health authorities that the state is on track in its exit out of restrictions.
The 113 new cases is the first time daily infections have been in triple digits in four days and the second day in a row the number has risen from the day before.
Mr Andrews is preparing to announce the government's plan for a pathway out of the current lockdown on Sunday, when he releases separate roadmaps for Melbourne and regional Victoria which are under stage four and stage three restrictions, respectively.
He's also expected to include detail on what will happen to the retail and hospitality sectors in Melbourne, which have been shut down for weeks.
Federal Treasurer and Victorian MP Josh Frydenberg on Thursday played down the contents of the leaked document, saying: "I will wait for the final plan from the Premier on Sunday".
On Wednesday, Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned the need for mandatory mask-wearing could remain in Melbourne and regional Victoria beyond the scheduled end of the current lockdown on September 13.
"I think we'll see masks for the next month in one form or another," he said. "It may not be all settings at all times."
The draft document obtained by the Herald Sun did not mention masks.
Professor Sutton also said the Melbourne curfew could also be continued.
"It'll be a consideration to continue [curfew]," he said.
Mr Andrews said daily case numbers were still too high despite Victoria's seven-day new case average falling below 100 for the first time since early July.
State of disaster extension also given green light
Victoria's lower house will rubber-stamp a six-month extension to state of emergency powers on Thursday after the bill narrowly passed through the upper house in a marathon sitting.
The state government also got the green light to extended a state of disaster, bringing it into line with the state of emergency.
The disaster declaration allows the government to enforce the nightly curfew and a ban on residents travelling more than five kilometres from their homes.
Mr Andrews warned people not to read too much into the extension.
"That doesn't necessarily mean that either the state of emergency or the state of disaster will automatically come off on the 13th," he said.
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