Melbourne's 25-Kilometre Rule and Regional Travel Ban Will Lift Tomorrow Night
Also changing: at-home and outdoor gathering limits, hospitality venue caps and mask rules.
Since the end of May, Melburnians haven't been able to venture far from home. First came a week-long statewide stint off stay-at-home conditions, followed by a further week of lockdown just in metropolitan Melbourne. And, while leaving the house for whatever reason you like has been back on the cards for the past week, the 25-kilometre rule made a comeback. But all of those limits on how far from home you can travel are finally set to lift — at 11.59pm on Thursday, June 17, in fact.
When Friday, June 18 hits — because, realistically, few folks are going to be bolting beyond their 25-kilometre bubble at one minute to midnight the day before — Melburnians will be able to venture anywhere they like, regardless of the distance from their house. You'll also be able to visit regional Victoria, too, with the ban on travelling outside of metropolitan Melbourne also being scrapped.
As announced by Acting Premier James Merlino today, Wednesday, June 16, a heap of other rules are changing as well. Many will be familiar given that Melbourne has cycled through pretty much every variation of caps and limits there is thanks to its four lockdowns over the past 15 months or so. As proved the case with the last set of amended restrictions last week, these new changes largely mirror the settings that have been in place in regional Victoria of late. And, like the last batches of rules, they'll be in place for a week, with another announcement expected on Wednesday, June 23 to announce the requirements beyond then.
So, for the next week, Melburnians will be able to welcome two people over to their house — that's two people per day, too, plus dependents — and also gather outdoors with up to 20 people. You'll also be able to head back to gyms, indoor entertainment venues and electronic gaming venues, as they'll now be allowed to reopen with density caps in place.
Also, food and hospitality businesses will be able to welcome in 25 people before the current density limits into effect — with a cap of 150 people per venue and a maximum of 75 people indoors. Offices can welcome in 50 percent of their employees, too — or 20 people at a time, whichever is greater — although Melburnians should continue to work from home if they can.
Funerals will be able to have 75 mourners as well, and weddings can be held with up to 20 people.
And, while masks will still remain mandatory indoors, the rules are changing outdoors. You won't have to wear them outside, but only if you can maintain a 1.5-metre distance from other people. Unlike last week, when this exact change was announced and then retracted a day later, here's hoping it stays in place this time around.
Announcing the easing of current restrictions, Acting Premier Merlino said that the government still wants "to keep regional Victoria free of this virus, which is why the public team have recommended stronger settings for metropolitan Melbourne as extra protection as we run down these remaining cases." So, the state's regional areas will also see its restrictions changed, putting them in a more relaxed situation than the capital.
Also part of that Melbourne/regional Victoria divide: requiring Melburnians travelling to the snow this season to get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departing for the state's alpine resorts.
Victoria now has 55 active COVID-19 cases as at midnight last night, although the state's exposure list has been growing again.
Melbourne's restrictions will ease again at 11.59pm on Thursday, June 17. For more information about the rules that'll be in place from that time, head to the Victorian Department of Health website.
Top image: Visit Victoria.
Published on June 16, 2021 by Sarah Ward