Outdoor Gathering and Travel Rules Are Easing Because Victoria Will Hit 70-Percent Single Jabs Today

From 11.59pm on Friday, September 17, Melburnians will be allowed to picnic outside with someone they don't live with — and travel ten kilometres from home for exercise and to shop.
Sarah Ward
September 16, 2021

Since the beginning of September, Victorians have had an extra incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and to also keep an eye on the state's vax rates. When spring hit, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that some lockdown rules would start to ease once 70 percent of eligible Victorians received their first jab — and, while that was originally expected to happen around Thursday, September 23, the state has actually hit the milestone a week early.

Well, it's about to hit it. At Victoria's daily COVID-19 press conference today, Thursday, September 16, the Premier advised that the state would tick over to 70-percent single-jabbed mark sometime today. So, as promised, Andrews revealed what will now be permitted in lockdown areas of metropolitan areas of Melbourne from 11.59pm on Friday, September 17, because a few rules will be relaxed slightly.

As previously advised, Melburnians will be able to venture twice as far from home for exercise and to shop, and to spend a little longer out of the house when you're working up a sweat. The current five-kilometre radius will expand to ten kilometres, and you'll get four hours a day to exercise — which is an hour more than was initially flagged at the beginning of the month.

Outdoor personal training will be allowed, too, with up to two people plus the trainer. Also, outdoor communal gym equipment and skateparks will reopen.

The just-announced changes also include something that wasn't previously flagged: "outdoor social interaction". That's the term that the Premier used, and it means that one person may meet another person who isn't from their household — outside, obviously — for a picnic, a walk or some other outdoor activity. You don't need to be vaccinated to enjoy outdoor social interaction, either, and outdoor social interaction is covered by both the ten-kilometre and four-hour rules, too.

That said, if you are fully vaxxed with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, you will be able to go a step further. Up to five adults from two households, plus their dependents, will be allowed to gather outdoors — but only if all adults present have had both their jabs.

Also changing: allowing child-minding for school-aged kids if only one parent is an authorised worker, and letting up to five people go to an entertainment venue or physical recreation facility to broadcast a performance, class or concert. And, the new rules will allow real estate inspections to resume, but by appointment only (and only featuring people from the same household, with the real estate agent remaining outdoors).

Back at the beginning of September, the Premier did advise that more rules could be eased at the 70-percent single-jabbed mark, depending on the situation at the time. Today, he said that "during the course of the day, tipping over the 70-percent first-dose mark, as we will, means that we can honour and indeed exceed the commitments that we have made to the Victorian community, particularly in metropolitan Melbourne, just a couple of weeks ago."

Andrews is also set to reveal metro Melbourne's full roadmap out of lockdown this coming Sunday, September 19, which is expected to fall in line with Australia's new 'National Plan to transition Australia's National COVID Response' that was announced in July — which outlines the easing of different rules once the country meets the 70-percent and 80-percent fully vaxxed targets.

Today's announcement came as Victoria reported 514 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours until midnight last night.

Melbourne first went into this lockdown at the beginning of Augustjust nine days after the previous lockdown ended — and has seen the stay-at-home rules extended not once, not twice, but three times so far, and a nighttime curfew implemented as well. That overnight curfew remains in place at present, including when the eased rules announced today come into effect.

As always, people across the city are asked to get tested if they experience even the slightest COVID-19 symptoms, and to keep checking the state's list of exposure sites — and to get vaccinated.

Lockdown rules in metropolitan Melbourne will ease slightly around outdoor gatherings and the distance travelled away from home from 11.59pm on Friday, September 17. For more information, head to the Victorian Department of Health website

Published on September 16, 2021 by Sarah Ward
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