Melbourne's Lockdown Is Ending But New Restrictions and the 25-Kilometre Bubble Will Be in Place
The city's statewide stay-at-home period is coming to an end — but you still won't be able to have people over to your home just yet.
UPDATE, June 10, 2021: Before the lockdown ends, the Victorian Government has changed the mask rules that'll come into effect from 11.59pm on Thursday, June 10. Under this change, which stems from updated public health advice, masks will still be mandatory outdoors.
Usually when winter hits, it's tempting to spend more time at home to escape the cold. Melburnians haven't had any other option so far in 2021, with the city under lockdown since the end of May — first as part of week-long statewide stay-at-home conditions to combat Victoria's latest COVID-19 outbreak, and then during a further week of lockdown just in metropolitan Melbourne itself.
Come 11.59pm on Thursday, June 10, the city's current stay-at-home stint will come to an end, with Acting Premier James Merlino advising today, Wednesday, June 9, that "significant steps" will be taken. So, from Friday, June 11, you'll be able to leave your house for whatever reason you like. As Melburnians are used to by now, though, some restrictions will be in place. In fact, the rules that'll apply once lockdown lifts are all very familiar.
Firstly, the five reasons to leave the house will be scrapped — so you can head out for whatever reason you like. But, you can't venture too far, with ten-kilometre rule giving way to the 25-kilometre rule. Accordingly, travel to regional Victoria will remain off the cards, including over the upcoming long weekend. To exceed your 25-kilometre bubble, you'll need to be heading to work, education, caregiving or to get a vaccination. It's expected that this rule will only be in effect for a week, but further details will be provided next week.
Other changes coming into effect largely mirror the settings that have been in place in regional Victoria over the past week. You still won't be able to have anyone come over to your house, for instance, but you will be able to gather outdoors with up to ten people.
Also, food and hospitality businesses will be able to open for seated service only — with a cap of 100 people per venue and a maximum of 50 people indoors. Retail stores can also reopen, with a density limit of one person per four square metres. Offices can welcome in 25 percent of their employees, too — or ten people at a time, whichever is greater. Religious gatherings and ceremonies can return with 50 people, weddings can have ten attendees and 50 mourners can go to funerals.
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.
Announcing the end of lockdown and the new rules that'll come into effect, Acting Premier Merlino said the government expects that "next Thursday night, that the original metro divisions will come down and we will be able to travel more freely around the state again." He also noted that the city will be hopefully able to further ease restrictions on venues. "We will continue to assess the data each day and provide more detail, more certainty, as soon as we can," he advised.
Victoria now has 83 active COVID-19 cases, including just one new local case identified in the 24 hours to midnight last night.
Melbourne's lockdown will end at 11.59pm on Thursday, June 10. 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 09, 2021 by Sarah Ward