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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Metropolitan Melbourne Residents Can Exercise and Shop 25 Kilometres From Home From October 19

Premier Daniel Andrews has outlined the next set of eased restrictions, including scrapping the two-hour time limit for exercising and socialising.
By Sarah Ward
October 18, 2020
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Metropolitan Melbourne Residents Can Exercise and Shop 25 Kilometres From Home From October 19

Premier Daniel Andrews has outlined the next set of eased restrictions, including scrapping the two-hour time limit for exercising and socialising.
By Sarah Ward
October 18, 2020
  shares

Back in early September, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews flagged how the metropolitan Melbourne area will gradually ease out of its stage four COVID-19 lockdowns, announcing a five-step plan to bring the region to a stage called 'COVID normal'. But like most things this year, that roadmap has been forced to adjust several times  since — including lifting the curfew earlier than expected, advising that other restrictions might relax earlier than planned, then noting that future steps might actually be smaller than hoped. Now, on Sunday, October 18, just what'll change over the coming weeks has been announced.

In his latest daily press conference, Premier Andrews outlined two stages of new steps — one coming into effect at 11.59pm tonight, and the second kicking off at the same time on Sunday, November 1. Both feature good news for metro Melbourne residents and, if case numbers continue to remain low, it's even possible that the eased restrictions earmarked to start in a fortnight could be moved forward.

In the first step, effective from this evening, the five-kilometre rule will be scrapped and replaced with a 25-kilometre rule. That means that you can exercise and shop in a much bigger area. Also, the two-hour cap on exercising will be lifted — and the same time limit on socialising, too.

While you're spending all that time outside, you'll be able to head to tennis courts, golf courses and skateparks, which are now allowed to reopen. Outdoor pools can have 30 swimmers, while indoor pools can reopen for one-on-one hydrotherapy.

And, if you're just eager to hang out with your nearest and dearest out of the house, groups of up to ten people from two households will permitted be able to gather in outdoor public places. That applies not only to exercise, but to picnics.

In terms of businesses, hairdressers can reopen in the first step, but retail, other personal and beauty services, and hospitality will have to wait two weeks. Relaunching shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs comes as part of the next stage, from the evening of Sunday, November 1.

From that date, hospitality venues will be allowed to operate with 20 people seated inside and 50 outside, with ten-person group maximums indoors. Outdoor seated entertainment will also be able to recommence, with limits of either 50 people or 25 percent of the space's seated capacity. And drive-ins can reopen, but indoor theatres, cinemas, galleries, museums and other entertainment venues will remain closed.

The second step will also completely scrap the four reasons for leaving home, and scrap the 25-kilometre rule too  — so you'll be able to head out wherever you feel like for whatever you feel like. Ten people from any number of households can meet outdoors, and two people and their dependents can visit another house once a day. The latter won't form part of a bubble or need to be exclusive, so you won't be limited to just visiting the same one house day after day.

Across all of the above steps, fitted face masks are still required. Also, if you can work from home, you must keep working from home.

The new plan for easing restrictions comes as Victoria's COVID-19 case numbers have remained under ten since October 14, including just two cases on Friday, one yesterday and two today.

Announcing the latest steps forward, Premier Andrews noted that he knows "these changes can't be absolutely everything everyone wants. But they are the steps we can safely take that will make life a little bit easier". He explained that "if we could do more today safely, of course we would. No rules, no restrictions will be on longer than they need to be". And, with the AFL Grand Final being played next weekend — in Brisbane, but with Melburnians still receiving a public holiday the day prior — he stressed the need for everyone to stick to the outlined plans. "No barbecue with friends on that day or any day is worth giving everything we have built back and making sure that it counts for nothing," he advised.

For more information about the status of COVID-19 and the current restrictions, head over to the Department of Health and Human Services website. For further details about Victoria's steps for reopening, head to the roadmap itself — or to Premier Andrews' latest statement, which links through to a table of the new changes.

Top image: Visit Victoria.

Published on October 18, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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