All the COVID rules relaxed in Melbourne today – before more sweeping changes next week as the state enjoys its tenth day straight of zero coronavirus infections or deaths
- Melburnians are enjoying new-found freedoms after Covid restrictions eased
- As of midnight, they can now travel into regional Victoria after three months
- Gyms, museums, galleries and cinemas can now also open on Monday morning
- The state announced another zero cases day on Monday, the tenth in a row
Strict coronavirus rules have been eased in Victoria after a golden run of ten days without any local COVID-19 infections or deaths.
There are just four active cases in the entire state, with two from an unknown source, bringing the 14-day rolling average for cases to 0.4.
The sweeping changes were announced by Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday, with another batch of restrictions due to be lifted in two weeks on November 22.
From 11.59pm on Sunday, libraries, galleries, cinemas, gyms and museums have been allowed to open for Victorians with 20 people per venue.
The limit will increase to 100 people from November 22.
Punters are now able to get back on gaming machines, with ten patrons per venue, while casinos are permitted to hold 10 people per room.
Strict coronavirus rules have been eased in Victoria after a golden run of ten days without any local COVID-19 infections or deaths (pictured, mates enjoying drinks on the Yarra on Saturday)
Also from November 22, Victorians will be allowed ten people round to their house, regardless of their household bubble.
All hospitality venues including bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes will be allowed 100 customers indoors and 200 outside.
Cinemas and galleries will also be allowed 100 patrons, while wedding limits will shoot up to 100 people.
At gyms, 100 people will be allowed in two weeks with maximum groups of ten – signalling the start of group exercise classes.
Community spaces including libraries or RSLs and neighbourhood houses can have up to 20 indoors, with groups of up to ten.
The sweeping changes were announced by Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) on Sunday
MELBOURNE’S PATH OUT OF LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU CAN DO AND WHEN IN NOVEMEBER
From 11.59pm on November 8:
Travel: The ‘Ring of Steel’ will be dropped from Melbourne, allowing full regional travel
End of the 25km rule that kept people close to their homes, with hotels now also allowed to open up
Hospitality: 40 customers allowed inside restaurant pubs and cafes, with 70 allowed outdoors
Socialising: Households can still only have two visitors at a time, but they can be from two different households and can bring their children
Sports: Gyms and indoor facilities can open with up to 20 people inside, and only ten people in each area
Indoor sport can start again for 18 and unders
Ceremonies: 20 people will be allowed inside for religious ceremonies, with 50 permitted outside – with the same applying to funerals, but not to weddings
Entertainment: Community spaces such as libraries, RSLs and play centres as well as cinemas, galleries, museums and theatres can have up to 20 indoors, with groups of up to ten
Music halls and various indoor entertainment venues can also reopen – including casinos with up to ten people per room
Aged care: Visits are also allowed once per day and for up to two hours, with the time limit for partners to visit maternity wards also scrapped
From 11.59pm on November 22:
Socialising: Victorians will be allowed ten people round to their house, regardless of their household bubble
Hospitality: All hospitality venues including bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes will be allowed 100 customers indoors and 200 outside
Entertainment: Cinemas, theatres and galleries will also be allowed 100 patrons
Beauty lovers will be allowed to take off their masks in salons, meaning the resumption of facial appointments
Casino caps will also be raised to 100 people
Sports: At gyms, 100 people will now be allowed with maximum groups of ten – signalling the start of group exercise classes
Ceremonies: Wedding limits will shoot up to 100 people, as well as for funerals and other religious ceremonies
‘It can’t be done open slather because whilst these numbers are good what we have all built together is fragile. Precious and fragile. It has to be safeguarded,’ Mr Andrews told a press conference on Sunday morning.
The major announcement comes as Victorians prepare to enjoy the first major easing of restrictions at midnight on Sunday, including finally going to the gym and travelling to regional areas.
The travel restriction between Melbourne and regional Victoria has been lifted and the 25km radius has been scrapped.
Gym and fitness facilities will reopen with a cap of 20 people while restaurants, hotels and cafes will be allowed to seat more patrons.
The outdoor cap will be raised to 70 while the indoor dining limit will be lifted from ten to 40 people.
A personal trainer conducts a class at FoxFit Gym in Melbourne on Monday (pictured) as they reopened. From 11.59pm on Sunday, gyms can host 20 people in Victoria
A gym class stretch in FoxFit Gym in Melbourne after eased coronavirus restrictions were brought in on Monday (pictured)
A staff member wipes down a treadmill with cleaning products at FoxFit Gym on Monday (pictured) as gyms reopened after three months
Funerals will now be able to cater to 20 mourners indoors and 50 mourners outdoors.
Faith gatherings will also be allowed to have 50 people, plus a faith leader, outdoors and 20 people, plus a faith leader, indoors.
Mr Andrews was particularly concerned about people obeying the rules regarding gatherings in homes after they were linked to previous outbreaks of COVID-19.
‘It’s really important that people stick within these rules. The data is very clear on this: so many of our recent outbreaks were connected to home visits,’ he said in a statement.
‘Home is where we relax, where we feel comfortable, which is precisely why it is so dangerous.’
Cinemas have been reopened for Victorians, with 20 people allowed per venue (pictured, Cinema Nova in Carlton when restrictions first eased in June before another lockdown)
Eased coronavirus restrictions allow casinos to safely host ten patrons per room (pictured, Crown Casino in Melbourne)
The relaxed restrictions comes after Victoria recorded its tenth consecutive day with zero new coronavirus cases.
There were 10,653 tests conducted in the reporting period compared to 16,914 the day before.
The low case numbers prompted New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce her state would open its border to Victoria on November 23.
But Queensland could close their borders to NSW yet again if they deem the open border with Victoria to be too much of a risk.
The newfound freedoms come as a bittersweet moment for Victorians who have endured harsh lockdown to beat the second outbreak of COVID-19.
Aged care bore the brunt of the second wave, with 650 of Victoria’s 819 coronavirus deaths related to the homes.
Regional travel is now allowed and the 25km radius has been lifted for Melburnians. Pictured: fisherman cast a line on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula
Epping Gardens, in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, had 38 deaths while St Basil’s Homes of the Aged had 44 deaths.
At least two Melbourne aged care facilities are facing lawsuits over virus fatalities.
The Department of Health and Human Services called it a significant achievement when it announced no active cases were linked to the centres on Thursday.
‘Late yesterday, the last remaining active case of COVID-19 linked to an aged care facility outbreak in Victoria was cleared,’ the DHHS said in a statement.
‘The clearance of this final active case represents a significant achievement in Victoria’s response to the second wave of this pandemic.’
As Victorians get set to enjoy more freedoms, Mr Andrews has encouraged residents to holiday at home.
Though his advice hit a snag with a popular Christmas destination off-limits for camping until next February.
Mornington Peninsula Shire has postponed foreshore camping for the bulk of the summer.
Melburnians (pictured on Saturday) will now enjoy new-found freedoms with even more restrictions due to ease on November 22
The reserves in Rosebud, Rye and Sorrento are major summer holiday spots.
Shire chief executive John Baker said it was not feasible to allow camping, given the ongoing health guidelines.
‘One of our major concerns is the transmission risk from people having to use the shared toilet and shower amenity blocks,’ he said.
‘This approach is consistent with the chief health officer’s advice which has underpinned our decision.’
The Shire added it would give an update in January about reopening camping areas and Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said her department would speak to them about the decision.
‘We do want to encourage the Mornington Shire Council and will continue to do that,’ she said.
Three women wearing face masks walk in Melbourne CBD (pictured on Saturday) before more restrictions eased at the end of the weekend
A second COVID-19 wave hit Victoria in July, caused in large part by Melbourne’s bungled hotel quarantine program.
The disaster began when private security guards were contracted by the government to man returned travellers at Victoria’s quarantine hotels, rather than Australian Defence Force personnel.
Dozens of security guards were caught sleeping on the job and fraternising with guests who were meant to be isolating, it has since been claimed.
Quarantine breaches involving private security guards led to 99 per cent of the state’s second wave, with 819 dead in the state to date.
On July 6, the Victoria-NSW border closed for the first time in a century as the southern state hit a record 127 new cases.
The following day, a record 191 cases prompted metro Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire to again be placed into stage-three lockdown, before being tightened to stage four on August 2.
Melburnians and Mitchell Shire residents were banned from leaving their homes unless for work, shopping for essentials, exercise or care giving.
Beach goers practice social distancing along Esplanade Road at St Kilda Beach (pictured on Sunday)