Metro Melbourne's 25-Kilometre Rule and Regional Travel Ban Will Lift From Midnight Tonight
Premier Daniel Andrews has also outlined the next set of planned steps, which'll come into effect on November 22.
Since Victoria's second COVID-19 lockdown began in July, dreaming of spending a night somewhere other than your own home has become a regular part of pandemic life. Thankfully, that dream can now become a reality, with Premier Daniel Andrews confirming today, Sunday, November 8, that Victorians will be able to travel regionally — and stay overnight — from 11.59pm this evening.
Back in late October, when he ran through the next phases of eased restrictions for the metropolitan Melbourne area as part of the state's roadmap, Premier Andrews advised that this was on the cards. Now, as Victoria marks nine consecutive days without any new COVID-19 cases, he has confirmed the new steps that will come into effect tonight — and outlined plans for the next stage after his, which'll hit from 11.59pm on Sunday, November 22.
On the travel front, the hard border between metro Melbourne and regional Victoria will be scrapped from tonight. And, so will the 25-kilometre travel limit. Crucially, accommodation sites will be allowed to reopen; however, there are rules about bookings. You can only book with members of your household, with your intimate partner, or with your household and two adults and their kids from another household.
A heap of other changes are also come into effect tonight — some previously advised, some newly announced. In the former category, metro Melbourne's gyms and fitness studios will be allowed to reopen, with a maximum of 20 people per venue and ten per space. At hospitality venues, they'll move to 40 people indoors and 70 outside. Religious gatherings will move to 20 people indoors and 50 outdoors, and indoor pools will also be allowed to open.
New steps that'll apply from this evening include the reopening of entertainment venues, with 20 people per venue or 20 per space if that applies — covering indoor cinemas, music halls, concert halls, auditoriums, galleries, museums and the State Library of Victoria. Performance times will need to be staggered, though, so that there's a minimum interval of 30 minutes between sessions to avoid crowds milling around in foyers.
Home visiting rules are also changing tonight, with two different adult visitors allowed at a household per day — either together or separately. But, for the foreseeable future, both the requirement to work from home if you can and the mandate to wear masks in public will remain in place.
Come November 22, assuming that case numbers remain low, the next set of changes will be put in place — and plenty of current rules will relax even further. Hospitality venues will be able to welcome in up to 100 people indoors (with one person per four square metres) and 200 outside (with one person per two square metres). Public gatherings will increase to 50 and private gatherings — so, folks coming over to your house — will increase to ten from any number of other households. And, travel-wise, you'll be able to head out of town in line with the private gathering cap (so in groups of ten people from any number of other households).
Both seated and non-seated entertainment venues (such as cinemas and galleries) will be able to welcome in up to 100 people per space, too, at a density of one person per four square metres up to 25-percent of their capacity. For outdoor seated events, numbers will go up to 500 (50-percent capacity, and one person per four square metres).
Gyms and fitness studios will increase to a maximum of 100 people per venue and 20 people per space. And religious gatherings will be able to have 20 people in one indoors, up to a total of 100 — and groups of 50 outdoors up to a total of 500. Weddings will also be able to have 100 people in attendance.
Announcing the future changes, Premier Andrews noted that Victoria "will only be able to make those changes, take those steps — which is the last step before we reach the COVID-normal [phase], which we were locking well ahead before Christmas before having the COVID-normal Christmas and maintaining those settings and maybe go further again, throughout 2021 — we will only get to that point if each of us fundamentally acknowledge this point: nine days of zero is not the same as a vaccine". He continued: "each of us have played a part in building this precious thing and each of us have to play a part in protecting it. If we want to stay open, we have to stay safe. If we want to enjoy these steps and more, then we all have to play our part. And it is getting tested when you feel sick. It is taking these rules seriously".
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.
Top image: Mark Watson via Visit Victoria.
Published on November 08, 2020 by Sarah Ward