After 262 days, the world’s longest lockdown is set to end at 11:59pm tonight when 70 per cent of eligible adults have been fully vaccinated.
“Victorians have sacrificed so much to protect their families, friends and the whole community from coronavirus – and have saved countless lives because of it,” Premier Andrews said in a media conference early this week.
“The milestone we’re about to hit marks a new and hopeful path for the whole state – allowing businesses to reopen and Victorians to get back to things they love.”
This morning when Victoria officially reached the 70 per cent double dose mark, Dan Andrews tweeted:
“We’ve officially hit 70% fully vaccinated. Because of everything Victorians have done, tomorrow we can start getting back to the things we love. Thank you Victoria – I’m so proud.”
When lockdown ends, here’s what you can and can’t do
No more curfew and 15-kilometre restrictions
There will no longer be any restrictions when leaving your home for people living in metropolitan Melbourne. The 15-kilometre travel radius and the curfew will no longer apply. However, travelling between metro Melbourne and regional Victoria will still not be allowed except for those with valid reasons.
Andrews said the decision was to ensure that Melburnians don’t spread the virus further into regional Victoria.
The easing of restrictions has been made possible by the high vaccination rates as Victoria speeds up its double vaccination target towards the 80 per cent mark.
Schools and child care opening-up
Grades 3 to year 11 in metropolitan Melbourne will return to face-to-face classes. Meanwhile, child care will be open to children who are already attending and children whose parents or guardians are fully vaccinated.
Ten people able to visit homes
In both metro Melbourne and regional areas, up to 10 people (including dependents) per day will now be able to visit homes.
Full vaccination for home visits is no longer mandatory, however, it is strongly advised. Premier Andrews said that it is recommended that Victorians allow only people aged 12 years and over who are fully vaccinated to visit them at home. Andrews admits they cannot impose time or visit amount limits since it will be hard for the authorities to police them. He urged people, however, to use common sense.
Premier Andrews, however, is confident that Victorians would be able to host 30 people to their homes by Christmas.
Work from home must continue
The government said that workers in metro Melbourne should continue to work from home if they can.
Workers who are authorised to work on-site must have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
Likewise, the capacity of large-scale construction sites will extend to 100 per cent if all workers are fully vaccinated.
Entertainment and hospitality sectors
Subject to density limits, outdoor businesses will now be allowed to open with up to 50 people per venue. This includes outdoor cafes, cinemas and physical recreation facilities like pools. Only customers who are fully vaccinated will be allowed.
Indoor settings like cafes and restaurants will be able to reopen with up to 20 people indoors with density limits. Again, customers and workers must be fully vaccinated.
Some pubs are expected to open as early as midnight.
Weddings, funerals and religious gatherings
Only fully vaccinated people will be permitted to attend religious gatherings, weddings and funerals with a limit of 50 people outdoors and 20 people indoors subject to density limits.
However, if vaccination status is unknown, 10 people are allowed indoors for religious gatherings, weddings and funerals.
Physical shopping is still not allowed
Physical retail shops will remain closed until 80 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated which is expected to be in the first week of November.
According to Premier Andrews, the retail setting is too risky to open up at current vaccination rates.
Masks still mandatory
Premier Andrews said that Victorians will still be required to wear face masks both indoors and outdoors.
However, when the vaccination mark reaches 80 per cent, masks would no longer be required outdoors. This is in line with the roadmap.
Hairdressers and beauty services
Hairdressers and beauty services will be able to serve five fully vaccinated patrons indoors. Some hairdressers are expected to open from midnight.
Indoor settings in regional Victoria will increase from 10 to 30 people per venue as long as everyone is fully vaccinated. It includes patrons to restaurants, cafes and gyms.
Up to 100 fully vaccinated people per venue will also be allowed outdoor. However, if vaccination status is unknown, only 20 people will be allowed at the venue.
Although the number of new cases is still high, Premier Andrews said that figures show that hospitalisations had stayed low and allowed the government to ease restrictions.
The next milestone in the roadmap will be when the state hits the 80 per cent double-dose vaccination mark, which is predicted to reach in the first week of November.
Andrews cautioned that any further relaxation of the rules would put too much strain on the hospital system.
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