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Victoria’s strict lockdown will be lifted at midnight following a drop in Covid-19 cases in the community.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced a sweep of changes to restrictions during a press conference on Tuesday morning.
For at least the next two weeks, Victorians will be able to leave their home for any reason. Pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars reopen for seated service with capacity limits. Kids will also return to the classroom for onsite learning.
“Today is welcome news but with thousands of Victorians in quarantine, we need to remain vigilant to keep each other safe,” Mr Andrews said.
But masks will still be required to be worn and visits between households will remain off limits, as authorities manage thousands of close contacts still in quarantine.
“They won't necessarily be what everybody wanted to hear but they are what is safe, and they're far better than being locked at home, far better than being in a situation like, for instance, Sydney or other parts of the world.”
It comes after Victoria announced 10 locally acquired cases of the highly infectious Delta variant on Tuesday. The key statistic for health authorities is that none of those cases spent time in the community while infectious.
Victoria’s rules after lockdown ends
From 11.59pm tonight, Victorians will be able to leave their homes for any reason.
Restaurants and cafes can also reopen for seated service.
Retail and beauty and personal care will open in line with density limits, as will entertainment venues and community facilities.
The Authorised Worker List will no longer apply, meaning businesses and venues can reopen with capacity and density limits of 1 person per 4sqm.
Victoria will return to the rule that ‘if you can work from home, you should work from home’ but office workers will be able to return up to 25 per cent or up to 10 people, whichever is greater.
Kids can get back to the classroom with schools reopening for onsite learning to all students from tomorrow.
Public gatherings will be allowed with up to 10 people, with infants under 12 months not included in the cap.
People will be free to visit ski fields again, but due to the higher risk in these settings entry to Victoria’s alpine resorts will require a COVID test and receipt of a negative result within 72 hours prior to visiting. Children under 12 years of age are not required to be tested.
A maximum of 50 people will be permitted at weddings.
Funerals will also have a cap of 50 mourners, plus those conducting the funeral. Infants under 12 months are not included in the cap for either.
Live music venues, dance classes and physical recreation facilities, including gyms, will all open with density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm.
Restrictions still in place in Victoria
Gatherings in the home are still not permitted.
People will only be able to book accommodation with their household, intimate partner or single bubble person.
Masks will continue to be required everywhere indoors and outdoors (except private residences), unless an exception applies.
Changes to the cross border bubble
The City of Wagga Wagga, Hay Shire Council, Lockhart Shire Council and Murrumbidgee Council will no longer be included in the cross border bubble.
These local government areas will be included under the Extreme Risk Zone from 11:59pm tonight, in line with the rest of NSW and residents will need a Specified Worker Permit, transit permit, or an exemption to enter Victoria.
Battle of the borders over lockdown measures
Mr Andrews has taken another hit at the lockdown measures implemented in NSW as his government announced the end of lockdown in Victoria.
“All I'm doing is telling others what worked here and it's through painful, tragic, bitter experiences,” he said.
The Victorian premier took a subtle swipe at Gladys Berejiklilan’s decision not to impose a ‘ring of steel’ around Sydney, as he did for Melbourne last year.
“I'm not here to be lecturing anyone. That's why keeping the Sydney problem in Sydney and not having it leach out into regional NSW and into Victoria makes sense to me. That's not a decision that's been made and it's not for me to make that decision but we will not hesitate to do what has to be done to keep our state safe,” Mr Andrews said.
It follows changes to the cross-border bubble, which means the regional NSW local government areas of City of Wagga Wagga, Hay Shire Council, Lockhart Shire Council and Murrumbidgee Council will no longer be included.
Residents in those LGAs must apply for permits to enter Victoria, which are only being granted to some approved workers at the moment due to the NSW outbreak.
"I take no pleasure in having to essentially lock out those four communities from Victoria, but there's a refusal to lock people in Sydney into Sydney so therefore I have no choice but to make those changes," he said.
It comes as NSW recorded 172 new locally acquired cases, with 60 of those in the community while infectious.
We are in no way triumphant, in no way boastful", Mr Andrews said.
"We have seen off two Delta outbreaks, I don't think there is a jurisdiction in the world that has been able to achieve that.”
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