Victoria has announced a major easing of coronavirus restrictions as it celebrates its 37th consecutive day with no new coronavirus cases.
Premier Daniel Andrews praised the effort made by the state for helping to reduce the spread of the virus at a media conference on Sunday but warned the 37-day streak “is not a vaccine”.
“Every Victorian should be proud but this thing is not done or over and can come back and if we don't play our part and remain vigilant,” Mr Andrews said.
As he urged Victorians to continue doing the right thing, Mr Andrews announced a number of restrictions would be eased from midnight tonight as the state heads into a “Covid-safe” summer.
Family gatherings and weddings increased
From 11:59pm tonight, Victorians will be able to hold private gatherings, with the 13 guest rule increased to 30 visitors in one day.
“You will be able to have from midnight tonight, 30 visitors from multiple households to your home over the course of the day, not 30 for a luncheon and 30 for dinner – 30 across the day,” Mr Andrews explained.
Outdoor weddings, funerals and religious gatherings will increase to 100 guests but the two square metre rule will apply.
New face mask rules
Mr Andrews explained that residents should carry masks with them “at all times” and they should be worn when indoors in shopping centres, while on public transport or when in a crowd where social distancing is not possible.
“Face masks have been a great insurance policy,” Mr Andrews told media, adding that the rules surrounding their use will be reviewed in January 2021.
Customers at hairdressing salons and spas will no longer need to wear face coverings but the Mr Andrews said he expects staff to wear masks: “that makes common sense”.
Pubs and clubs
From midnight tonight, bars, pubs and cafes will be allowed to host up to 25 guests before the density cap kicks in and one person for every two square metres is allowed.
“There will be no capping on the number of patrons that can be in the venues inside or outside provided the one person per two square metres is observed,” Mr Andrews said.
Patrons no longer have to stay seated and standing service will be allowed in bars and night clubs.
Nightclubs can also open dance floors again with the two square metre rule applying.
Gyms and exercise
Covid marshals will still be required to ensure gyms stick to a limit of 50 people.
Those working out will have to stick to four square metres of distance, while those exercising outdoors must adhere to the two square metres per person rule.
Office numbers to increase in January
Starting on January 11, offices in the private sector can increase employee numbers from 25 per cent to 50 per cent capacity, with slightly different dates for public servants to return to the workplace.
“We have kept the public service at home so as to favour the private sector to give them more room to get back to the Covid-safe summer,” Mr Andrews explained.
The Victorian public service sector will move to 25 per cent capacity and “hopefully” on February 8, that number will increase to 50 per cent.
Sporting and entertainment events
Mr Andrews said plans for larger sporting events such as the Australian Open and the Boxing Day Test Match are currently in the works and details will be announced when they are finalised.
Victorians will be allowed out and about to visit zoos, galleries and attending events but depending on the size of the event, different restrictions will apply.
A non-seated indoor or outdoor event will be allowed 50 per cent of the total capacity with a maximum of 1000 patrons.
Larger seated indoor and outdoor venues will allow up to 75 per cent of fixed seating capacity with a maximum of 1000 people.
“We have many months in front of us of living a different life but it has to be a Covid-safe summer and then we will make further announcements once we get into 2021,” Mr Andrews said.
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