Regional Areas Will Be Released From Victoria's Latest Lockdown at Midnight Tonight
With no new COVID-19 cases identified in regional Victoria, these areas will exit lockdown early — but Melbourne's stay-at-home conditions will remain in place.
Since 8pm on Thursday, August 5, the entire state of Victoria has been in lockdown in an effort to stop the latest COVID-19 cluster from spreading. The stay-at-home period was initially put in place for seven days, and looks set to remain in effect for at least that whole period in Melbourne — but folks in regional parts of the state are getting an early mark.
Just like back in your school days, if you live anywhere in regional Victoria, you'll be allowed to ditch the rules and resume some fun earlier than expected. As Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews advised at the state's daily coronavirus press conference today, Monday, August 9, lockdown will end everywhere other than Melbourne from 11.59pm tonight.
"There have been no new coronavirus cases in regional Victoria and thousands of primary close contacts have been cleared from the regions over the last few weeks," said the Premier in a statement.
Accordingly, the five reasons to leave the house will be lifted in regional Victoria this evening. As always happens after a lockdown, a number of other restrictions will be put in place, however. These restrictions will largely mirror the rules in effect before this lockdown — so yes, they'll sound familiar.
Folks in regional Victoria will able to go out for whatever reason they like. The five-kilometre rule is also being scrapped, so you can roam far and wide without worrying about the distance. Of course, the state's border rules, and those of other parts of Australia, may hamper your trip if you're planning on heading interstate. And, if you're planning to head to Melbourne, you can only do so for a permitted reason, and you'll still have to follow Melbourne's lockdown restrictions while you're there.
Obviously, that travel rule doesn't work both ways. People in Melbourne still can't venture more than five kilometres from home, and therefore can't leave their house to visit regional parts of the state.
Also permitted in regional Victoria from 11.59pm tonight: catching up with your nearest and dearest, but you'll have to gather outdoors in public, and only in groups of up to ten people. You still won't be able to have anyone come over to your house, so nothing is changing there.
Masks will still remain mandatory both indoors and out, too — so the rules there aren't changing there, either.
Also, food and hospitality businesses will be able to open with a cap of 100 people, as well as a density quota of one person per four-square metres. Retail stores, gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons can reopen as well, with the same density cap.
Entertainment venues can welcome in up to 300 people per outdoor space and 100 people per indoor space, with the one person per four-square metres density requirement.
That said, businesses that are permitted to reopen in regional Victoria but must remain closed in Melbourne — so places like restaurants offering dine-in meals, beauty services and venues — will be required to check the IDs of everyone they serve.
The lockdown changes come as Victoria now has 103 active COVID-19 cases, including 11 new cases identified in the 24 hours to midnight last night.
All of the current stay-at-home rules remain in effect in Melbourne until at least 4pm on Thursday, August 12, which means only leaving your home for five reasons: shopping for what you need, when you need it; caregiving and compassionate reasons; essential work or permitted eduction that can't be done from home; exercise; and getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Regional Victoria's lockdown will end at 11.59pm on Monday, August 9. For more information about the rules that'll be in place from that time, head to the Victorian Department of Health website.
Top image: Robert Blackburn via Visit Victoria.
Published on August 09, 2021 by Sarah Ward