'Very good news': Premier hints at easing strict coronavirus restrictions

Premier Daniel Andrews has hinted at easing coronavirus restrictions in some parts of Victoria in the coming days, as the state’s daily coronavirus cases fall below 40.

Victoria recorded 37 COVID cases on Saturday - its lowest number of daily cases since June 26 - and six deaths, bringing the country’s death toll to 803.

Active infections in Victoria have fallen to 1251, down from a high of 7877 on August 12.

During a press conference around 11am, Mr Andrews indicated regional Victoria may be let out of its Stage Three lockdown within a matter of days as a result of the drop in new cases.

Melbourne remains under Stage Four lockdown.

To progress to the third step of its recovery plan, regional Victoria must have a daily case average of five or less across 14 days and record no cases with an unknown source.

Pictured is Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during his press conference.
Mr Andrews indicated regional Victoria may be out of lockdown within a matter of days as a result of the drop in new cases. Source: AAP

The average in regional Victoria sits at 4.3 cases. Melbourne's 14-day new case average is 61.6

"It is very good news for regional Victoria and I hope every single person in metro Melbourne is looking to the numbers in regional Victoria and seeing what can be delivered," Mr Andrews said.

"Regional Victoria is so close, just a few days and they will potentially be able to take not just a single step but two of those steps and be essentially open."

Mr Andrews also announced some positive news for businesses located in metropolitan Melbourne for when the city begins the second step in the roadmap out of restrictions, which is slated for September 20.

Pet groomers will be permitted to provide contactless services from September 20, though businesses must be run out of a venue.

No mobile services will be permitted as public health experts said such services would not be safe, Mr Andrews said.

“Pet owners will to drop their pets off and pick them up when the service is complete,” the premier explained.

“It must be a venue, it cannot be a mobile pet grooming business will stop this is very similar to what veterinary clinics are already doing in some circumstances.”

When the ‘road map’ out of restrictions was revealed, hairdressing services were set to start back up during step three, while other beauty services would be given the green light under the fourth step.

On Saturday, Mr Andrews announced beauty and personal services will be allowed to operate alongside hairdressers in step three, as long as a mask can be worn for the entirety of the service.

Police are seen at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Source: AAP
Police have been out in full-force issuing fines to anyone who violates the strict lockdown laws. Source: AAP

The state's roadmap on virus measures has come in for consistent criticism, especially the requirement for the number of new daily cases to fall to below five for a major relaxation of restrictions including the city's curfew.

The premier reaffirmed that the state's transition out of stage four was not set in stone and modelling was not the major consideration.

"Data trumps modelling every time. Actual numbers, today's number, not what we thought we would have today. That is much better than any assumption you can make," he said.

"This is not an academic exercise, this is live, it's real and we have to lock in some settings and then push to achieve those targets.

"We will keep putting the data in every single day, we'll keep running the models and we'll see how things unfold, day on day, week on week, and we'll use common sense."

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