Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced major changes to COVID-19 restrictions on cinemas, play centres and museums, with further easing taking effect in two weeks.
From 11.59pm on Sunday, libraries, galleries, cinemas and museums will be allowed to hold 20 people per venue. From November 22, the limit will increase to 100 people.
Gaming machines will be allowed 10 patrons per venue from midnight tonight, while casinos will be permitted to hold 10 people per room.
Also from November 22, Victorians will be allowed 10 visitors to their home.
Hospitality venues will be able to hold 100 patrons indoors, and 200 outside.
Victoria is set to reap the benefits of relaxed coronavirus restrictions from Sunday at midnight, with travel to regional areas among the changes (pictured, Melburnians on Saturday)
The low case numbers prompted New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce her state would open its border to Victoria on November 23 (pictured, Melbourne on Saturday)
The newfound freedoms come as a bittersweet moment for Victorians who have endured harsh lockdown to beat the second outbreak of COVID-19 (pictured, Melbourne on Saturday)
‘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.
Community spaces like libraries or RSLs and neighbourhood houses can have up to 20 indoors, with groups of up to ten.
The major announcement comes as Victorians prepare to enjoy a huge easing of restrictions at midnight on Sunday, including going to the gym and travelling to regional areas.
The widely-hated travel restriction between Melbourne and regional Victoria will be lifted and the 25km travel radius scrapped, following nine consecutive days of no new cases.
Gyms 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 people while the indoor dining limit will be lifted from ten to 40 people.
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From 11.59pm on November 8:
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
40 customers allowed inside restaurant pubs and cafes, with 70 allowed outdoors
Households can still only have two visitors at a time, but they can be from two different households and can bring their children
Gyms and indoor facilities can open with up to 20 people
Indoor sport can start again for 18 and unders
20 people will be allowed inside for religious ceremonies, with 50 permitted outside – with the same applying to funerals, but not to weddings
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:
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
At gyms, 100 people will now be allowed with maximum groups of ten – signalling the start of group exercise classes
Wedding limits will shoot up to 100 people
Beauty lovers will be allowed to take off their masks in salons, meaning the resumption of facial appointments
Funerals will now be allowed 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.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he was optimistic the changes would go ahead, and is even due to announce more restrictions in his press conference on Sunday.
‘Sunday is going to be an important day, we’re on track to make some significant announcements,’ he said.
‘I can’t predict what will be announced other than what we’ve already outlined. We’re well on track to do all of those things.’
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.
Gyms will reopen with a cap of 20 people inside from Sunday at 11.59pm
Premier Daniel Andrews said he was optimistic the changes would go ahead with the possibility of lifting more restrictions (pictured, Melburnians on the Yarra on Saturday)
Aged care bore the brunt of the second wave, with 650 of Victoria’s 819 coronavirus deaths related to the homes.
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.
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.
The outdoor cap for bars will be raised to 70 people while the indoor dining limit will be lifted from ten to 40 people
Funerals will now be allowed to cater to 20 mourners indoors and 50 mourners outdoors
The widely-hated travel restriction between Melbourne and regional Victoria will be lifted and the 25km travel radius scrapped
‘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.