Victoria's Restrictions Will Ease Again on October 29, Reopening Retail and Allowing Regional Travel
And, once Victoria hits the 90-percent double-jabbed mark in late November, all caps and density quotas will be ditched in all locations statewide.
Another vaccination milestone, another loosening of COVID-19 rules: that's becoming an end-of-week tradition in Victoria. The metropolitan Melbourne region just came out of lockdown a couple of days back, at 11.59pm on Thursday, October 21, after the state hit the 70-percent double-vaccinated mark — and now, with the 80-percent double-jabbed threshold set to be reached in the coming days, more rules will ease across Victoria at 6pm on Friday, October 29.
All those restrictions you've been abiding by for the past few days? Yes, they're about to change. And while Victoria has an existing roadmap for easing back to the pandemic version of normality, the new requirements that'll kick in at the 80-percent double-vaxxed mark have been fleshed out in further detail. Also, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews advised what's in store when the state hits 90-percent double-vaxxed among those aged 12 and over, too.
"Thanks to the hard work of millions of Victorians who turned out to get vaccinated in recent months, the Victorian Government has today been able to outline what life will be like as we hit our 80 per cent and 90 per cent double dose targets," said the Premier in a statement.
"Victoria will reach its 80-percent double-dose vaccination milestone almost a week ahead of schedule, on Friday 29 October. When we reach our 90-percent double-dose milestone — predicted to be as early as 24 November — a significant easing of all major restrictions will occur," Andrews continued.
Victoria will hit 80% double dosed this week, and the Chief Health Officer determined that at 6pm on Friday 29 October more restrictions will be eased - and Victoria will all come together under the same restrictions. pic.twitter.com/XJvxbPel2n
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) October 24, 2021
Accordingly, when 6pm arrives on Friday, October 29, public outdoor gatherings will go up to 30 people (including dependents). At-home limits won't change, however, so that remains at up to ten people (including dependents) per day. With both, vaccination is listed as "strongly recommended" by the government.
Retail can reopen, and gyms as well — both to double-jabbed folks. In most indoor settings in public — which includes restaurants, pubs, retail, gyms, hairdressers and beauty services — there'll be no set limit on the number of people if all staff and patrons are double-vaccinated, although the one person per four-square-metre rule will still apply. And outdoors in these same types of locations, there'll be a 500-person cap up to one person per two-square-metres if all staff and patrons are double-jabbed. Plus, these rules will also apply to weddings, funerals and religious gatherings, again if everyone is double-vaxxed.
In great news for everyone sick of their streaming queues, indoor entertainment venues can finally reopen. With seated venues — with spans cinemas and theatres — there's a 75-percent capacity limit, or the one person per four-square-metre rule up to a 1000-person cap, but only if both staff and patrons are double-jabbed. Non-seated non-seated indoor entertainment venues won't have to abide by a set number, but the one person per four-square-metre requirement applies, again if everyone is double-vaccinated.
Outdoors, both seated and non-seated entertainment venues — so stadiums, zoos and tourism attractions — can open with the one person per two-square-metres restriction up to 5000 if staff and patrons are double-vaxxed.
Also, events such as music festivals can also hit the 5000-attendee mark, but there might be other restrictions depending on the venue. The new rules state that the Chief Health Officer can allow larger crowds "for significant events and venues under the Public Events Framework, " too.
The requirements around masks are changing as well, and will only be mandated indoors — not outdoors. That said, it's still highly recommended that Victorians keep masking up outside in busy streets, outdoor markets or anywhere you can't physically distance from other people.
Plus, you can get ready to mosey around all of Victoria again. The entire state will be under the same rules at the 80-percent double-vaxxed mark, which means that travelling from metropolitan Melbourne to regional Victoria will be permitted.
Interstate travel will be allowed as well, although that obviously depends on other states' border rules. Still, Victoria has already dropped its quarantine requirement for double-vaccinated folks entering the state from places deemed 'red zones'.
Also, as previously announced, there'll be no quarantine for double-jabbed travellers returning from overseas from Monday, November 1, either.
Then, at the 90-percent double-jabbed threshold — so around Wednesday, November 24, with the exact date obviously yet to be confirmed depending on vaccination numbers over the next month — even more rules will relax. The Premier said that this stage would see "all major restrictions will ease and we'll get back to something resembling our pre-COVID lives."
So, this is when all caps and density quotients will be ditched — covering everywhere, including at-home, outdoors and at venues. Indeed, there'll be no restrictions for indoor and outdoor events at all, as long as they stick to COVID-safe rules, which includes vax requirements.
At this stage, you'll also only have to mask up in a few high-risk settings indoors. So, your face will only need to be covered in places such as hospitals, aged care and public transport.
Yes, after enduring the city's sixth lockdown of the pandemic, the next few months in Melbourne are now looking a whole lot different.
Today's announcement comes as 1935 new local COVID-19 cases were reported.
Victoria's COVID-19 restrictions will relax again at 6pm on Friday, October 29. For further information about Victoria's reopening roadmap, head to the Victorian Government website. For more information about the status of COVID-19 and the current restrictions, head over to the Department of Health website.
Top image: Josie Withers, Visit Victoria.
Published on October 24, 2021 by Sarah Ward