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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Metropolitan Melbourne's Next Stage of Eased Restrictions Is Likely to Be Smaller Than Originally Planned

But Premier Daniel Andrews has advised that some yet-to-be-finalised changes will still come into effect next week.
By Sarah Ward
October 10, 2020
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Metropolitan Melbourne's Next Stage of Eased Restrictions Is Likely to Be Smaller Than Originally Planned

But Premier Daniel Andrews has advised that some yet-to-be-finalised changes will still come into effect next week.
By Sarah Ward
October 10, 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'. Then, at the end of last month, Premier Andrews confirmed how the second phase of that roadmap would proceed, including lifting the curfew earlier than expected due to lower COVID-19 case numbers — while also revealing that the state may also move forward to future stages earlier than planned.

As part of that late-September announcement, it was advised that the metropolitan Melbourne area will no longer be held to strict dates, but to case numbers, when it comes to loosening further restrictions. And, based on cases at the time, it was expected that step three would come into effect on October 19; however, today, Saturday, October 10, Premier Andrews has advised that the next the next stage of eased rules is likely to be smaller than originally outlined.

"The tale of this second wave was always going to be stubborn and that is exactly the way it is panning out," the Premier noted in his daily press conference. "I think it unlikely that we will be able to move as fast as we would like to have done next Sunday. I think it is unlikely that we will be able to take as eager steps as we would have hoped to take next Sunday," he said.

Premier Andrews did confirm that changes are still coming next week, though, even if they aren't as significant as initially hoped. "We will take steps next Sunday, and Martin [Foley, the Victorian Health Minister], Brett [Sutton, Victoria's Chief Health Officer], myself and other colleagues will spend an enormous amount of time this weekend and throughout the week determining exactly what those next steps can be," he advised.

As part of the revised roadmap, step three was due to kick in when the daily average number of cases in the last 14 days hit less than five state-wide, and when there was less than five cases with an unknown source across Victoria in the prior fortnight as well. At present, the metro Melbourne area alone has a rolling 14-day average of 9.5 cases, with ten cases from mystery sources.

Just what will change from October 19 is obviously yet to be revealed but, originally, restrictions on leaving home were due to be lifted — including reasons and distance. Also initially slated: public gatherings capped at ten people outdoors; 'household bubbles', allowing up to five visitors from another nominated household; the reopening of retail and hairdressing; and hospitality kicking back into gear with a focus on outdoor seated service, plus group caps of ten people. Intrastate travel was also set to be allowed, but only to other places in step three, and outdoor venues and events were slated to recommence subject to pre-approved plans.

For more information about the status of COVID-19 and the current restrictions, head over to the Department of Health and Human Services website — and for further details about Victoria's steps for reopening, head to the roadmap itself.

Published on October 10, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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