- More restrictions are easing in Victoria as the number of coronavirus cases steadily decreases.
- In Melbourne, residents can exercise and shop within a 25 kilometre radius. However, retail and hospitality businesses won’t be allowed to reopen until November 1.
- In regional Victoria, hospitality businesses can have up to 40 customers indoors and 70 customers outdoors.
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More restrictions have been lifted in Victoria.
On Sunday, Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced the easing of more restrictions in the state as the number of coronavirus cases steadily fall.
During the state’s peak in August, it recorded 725 daily cases. On Sunday, it reported just two new cases. In the last 24 hours, four new cases were reported.
As a result of the drop in numbers, the state government lifted restrictions both in Melbourne and in Regional Victoria.
In Melbourne, the five kilometre limit on exercise and shopping has been extended to a 25 kilometre radius. And there’s no longer a two-hour time limit on exercising.
Outdoor sporting venues like golf courses, tennis courts and skateparks can reopen, and so can hairdressers.
Healthcare professionals return to face-to-face care, while outdoor auctions can hold up to 10 people.
Groups of 10 people from two households can gather together in outdoor public places.
When it comes to businesses, people who work in outdoor activities like maintenance, photography, mobile pet grooming and repairs are allowed to operate. However, hospitality, retail and personal care services will have to wait until 11.59pm on November 1 to reopen.
“This is a timeline that is based on the current advice of our public health team,” Andrews said in a statement.
“But if we continue to track well on the most important indicators – case averages, mystery cases, test numbers and the number of days people wait before they get tested – we may be in a position to move sooner.”
Opening retail stores falls under the third step of easing restrictions, which includes allowing residents to leave their homes without restrictions and all remaining retail and hospitality businesses being allowed to reopen. Beauty services can also operate if masks are worn.
The Business Council of Australia expressed its disappointment that businesses will still remain closed for a while longer.
“This is an inexplicable and unacceptable delay for Victorians and small businesses who are hanging on by a day, not a week,” Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott said in a statement.
“Adopting a wait and see approach to easing restrictions is not an answer for people who face a bleak Christmas and businesses that are trying to get back up and running.”
Westacott also argued that “there’s no point having a 25 kilometre travel zone if nothing is open.”
As the state’s third step approaches, businesses can have a ‘dark opening’ from October 28 so they can prepare for reopening. And two people will be allowed to go and visit households.
In regional Victoria, libraries can have up to 20 people indoors, with regional hospitality businesses able to have up to 40 customers indoors and 70 customers outdoors.
From November 1, outdoor religious gatherings can have up to 50 people.
“Staying safe is more important than ever,” Andrews added. “So please, keep wearing a mask, keep maintaining your distance – and if you feel sick, get tested and stay home.”