Coronavirus Victoria: Premier Dan Andrews announces changes to lockdown

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the relaxation of restrictions for residents in Melbourne.

Speaking to reporters at a highly anticipated press conference on Sunday morning, Mr Andrews outlined changes to the lockdown measures in the state.

“Victorians have done an amazing job over recent weeks and months,” he said.

“What it means is that as so many cities across the world head into what is going to be a deadly winter, we in Melbourne and across Victoria are well-placed to have a COVIDSafe summer and a COVID normal 2021.

“We just have a little more to go to see off this second wave, to defeat this second wave.”

5km radius expanded, no time limit on outdoor activity

From 11:59pm tonight here will be no time limit on leaving the home for exercise or socialising.

The 5km restriction will be increased to allow people to travel up to 25 kms from their home, while larger groups will be able to meet outside.

Melbourne residents pictured out and about during lockdown.
A mother wearing a face mask celebrates her daughter's birthday despite the lockdown restriction in Bourke Street. Source: Getty

“There will be no time limit on leaving your home for exercise or for socialising. The travel distance from your home will move from 5km to 25km. Outdoor gatherings will increase to 10 people from two households,” Mr Andrews said.

The premier said the 25km individual boundary will likely stay in place for a number of weeks.

“Not an easy call to make but we think it is the right thing to do. It will limit movement and stop large groups of people, certainly much larger than they would otherwise be, groups of people congregating.”

Tennis courts, skate parks and golf courses can re-open, as can hairdressers and some real estate activity.

“Hairdressers will be back open. Real estate auctions will occur with a maximum of 10 people and commercial real estate inspections can occur,” Mr Andrews said.

“Non-essential outdoor home maintenance, repairs, renovations, house painting, can occur with a maximum of five workers. Solo or automated car washing and pool cleaning will be allowed, mobile or home business pet grooming will be allowed, outdoor photography will be allowed, and there will be a full return of allied health services.”

At this point, that is the totality of the changes for the next fortnight with Mr Andrews saying he doesn’t want to undermine the hard work done to date.

Reasons for leaving home to be scrapped next month

From Sunday November 1, the four reasons permitting people to leave home will be scrapped. A maximum of two adults can visit another house per day.

“A maximum of two people plus dependants, once-a-day, will be able to visit homes. Not a bubble, not an exclusive arrangement, but essentially one family, two adults and children, to your home, once-a-day,” Mr Andrews said.

“No more often than that. The following will be open subject to conditions from midnight the first of November.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media. Source:  Getty
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media. Source: Getty

Retail and hospitality to open up in November

Retail will be allowed to open back up with a COVIDsafe plan next month.

Hospitality venues will have a maximum of 20 people inside and 50 people outside, Mr Andrews said.

“A maximum of 20 people will be allowed for outdoor religious gatherings. A maximum of 10 people will be allowed at weddings. A maximum of 20 mourners at funerals,” he told reporters.

“Outdoor seated entertainment can host a maximum of 50 people or 25 per cent of the venue's fixed seat capacity.”

Given the state’s low numbers in recent days, businesses could open sooner.

“There is some optimism, confidence even, but if things continue this week as they have the last five days, we may be able to bring that forward," he said of the wait for business operators.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said Sunday’s announcement of a likely November 2 reopening date for stores with an immediate reopening for hairdressers brings enormous relief for retailers.

“Whilst this date is many weeks later than we would have hoped, it is just in time for the official start of the Christmas shopping period and a very welcome news for retailers who have been desperately seeking clarity for months,” ARA CEO Paul Zahra said in a statement.

Meanwhile contact sport for under 18-year-olds and non-contact for adults can recommence from next month.

“I've announced today what is safe but what will not undermine the efforts that Victorians have put in,” Mr Andrews said.

Prior to Sunday, the state recorded just two new cases of coronavirus and no new deaths, pushing the 14-day average of new cases to 7.5 for metropolitan Melbourne and 0.5 in regional Victoria.

It comes as the state recorded a single new case on Saturday, and just two in the 24-hour period to Friday, representing the lowest numbers since early June.

As of Sunday morning, there were just 112 total active cases, and 15 from mystery sources.

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