When the clock stuck midnight, the city could barely contain its excitement.
Melbourne has spent more days in lockdown than any other city in the world during the pandemic.
The city of five million has spent a cumulative 262 days, or nearly nine months, under stay-home orders since March 2020.
But last night they left that all behind as cheers rang out.
It was likened to the night before Christmas by some business owners as bars retuned to having customers.
Videos shared to social media show people on balconies, others screaming out their apartment windows to revel in the collective joy of the moment. Pots were banging while car horns rang into the night.
— Dillon (@DillonGomes) October 21, 2021
What you can do in Melbourne now
From today, people can leave their homes for any reason and travel anywhere within metropolitan Melbourne.
The curfew has been scrapped, home gatherings of up to 10 are allowed, and hairdressers, beauticians and hospitality businesses can reopen for the fully vaccinated.
Some businesses opened at the stroke of midnight as eager residents hit the city to get their first pint, or even facial, for 77 days – the length of the city's latest lockdown.
The freedoms were triggered as Victoria reached its 70 per cent double-dose vaccination target on Wednesday, while almost 90 per cent of those aged over 16 have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
However daily cases have remained stubbornly high in recent days, with the state recording its second worst day of the latest Delta outbreak on Thursday with 2,232 new locally-acquired cases announced.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) October 21, 2021
The state is on track to get to 80 per cent double-dosed by October 30, a week ahead of the original November 5 estimate.
At that point, Melburnians will be able to travel to regional Victoria, masks will no longer be required outdoors, retail and gyms reopen and up to 150 fully vaccinated patrons can be inside venues.
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