Victoria eases some restrictions in lockdown areas early

·4-min read

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced some lockdown restrictions will ease at 11.59pm on Friday night for Melbourne and Ballarat.

The state is expected to hit a 70 per cent first dose vaccination rate at some point on Thursday, so Mr Andrews announced some restrictions will ease just in time for the weekend.

Melbourne and Ballarat will both remain lockdown, and the announcement comes as 514 new locally-acquired Covid cases were announced on Thursday.

The 70 per cent target was initially forecast to be hit on September 23, but the state's soaring vaccination rate has brought the date forward.

Victoria recorded 514 new locally-acquired Covid cases on Thursday. Source: AAP
Victoria recorded 514 new locally-acquired Covid cases on Thursday. Source: AAP

"We want to get to 70 per cent as fast as we can first so we can make some modest but significant announcements," Mr Andrews said on Thursday. 

"Throughout the course of today, we will tip over that 70 per cent first dose mark, that's a great achievement."

It comes after Victoria's branch of the Australian Medical Association called for restrictions to be eased only two weeks after 80 per cent of people in Victoria aged 12-years and older have had their second dose.

The restrictions easing in lockdown areas

People in lockdown will now have another reason to leave their home: social interaction.

The changes mean up to five adults from two households, plus dependants, will be able to gather outdoors if all adults are fully vaccinated.

If you are not yet vaccinated, or you have had just one dose, you are able to meet up with one person from another household.

People in lockdown areas will be allowed to exercise for four hours per day.

The travel radius to get necessary goods and services, or to exercise and have an outdoor gathering has been upped from 5km to 10km.

Two people will be allowed to train outdoors with a personal trainer when the rules ease, skate parks and communal outdoor exercise equipment will reopen.

Child-minding will be permitted for school aged children, if one parent is an authorised worker.

Up to five people will be allowed to attend an entertainment venue or a physical recreation facility to broadcast a performance, class or concert.

Real estate inspections by appointment only will also be allowed to resume, only people from the same household may attend an inspection and the real estate agent will have to stay outdoors.

Mr Andrews said a roadmap will be presented on Sunday and will outline what the coming months will look like.

Masks will still be mandatory.

Following transmission within the construction industry, vaccines will become mandatory for construction site workers.

All site workers will be required to have had their first dose from 11.59pm next Thursday.

They will also be banned from crossing back and forth over the regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne boundary for work.

AMA says easing restrictions would be 'reckless'

Ahead of the announcement, Victoria's branch of the Australian Medical Association said it would be "reckless" for the state to ease restrictions before 80 per cent of Victorians are vaccinated.

In the statement, the AMA said the healthcare system in Victoria is already under strain and now is not the time to open up.

The statement said it would be reckless to lift restrictions now and those steps should be taken two weeks after 80 per cent of people in Victoria aged 12-years and older have had their second dose.

"Covid-19 is putting unprecedented strain on Victoria's health care system and now is not the time to open up," Victorian President Dr Roderick McRae said in a statement.

"AMA Victoria understands the implications of its policy but there are no simple solutions related to the management of COVID-19.

"This is simply the least bad option."

In Victoria, there are 182 people in hospital, 51 of those are in the intensive care unit and 29 are on ventilators. 

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting