Regional Victoria Except Greater Shepparton Will Come Out of Lockdown at Midnight on September 9
While Melbourne will remain under the current lockdown rules until 70 percent of the state has had one COVID-19 vaccination, most regional areas of Victoria will ease out of stay-at-home conditions this week.
After more than a month of cycling in and out of stay-at-home conditions, the bulk of regional Victoria will come out of lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday, September 9. While nothing will ease in Greater Melbourne until 70 percent of the state has had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Premier Daniel Andrews floated last week that changes might be possible in regional parts of the state before that milestone is reached — and now that's exactly what's happening.
At Victoria's daily COVID-19 press conference today, Wednesday, September 8, the Premier announced that "the five reasons to leave the home will be removed in regional Victoria, except for Greater Shepparton." Lockdown will remain in place in Greater Shepparton for the time being; however, the Premier said that "we would hope to have Shepparton catch up to the rest of regional Victoria some time next week, and we'll make those announcements as soon as we have tidied up the last bits of the outbreak there."
Regional Victoria has been in lockdown again since mid-August, after initially joining the entire state under stay-at-home conditions at the beginning of the month, then being released from lockdown a few days later. So, it has been a seesawing month or so of changing conditions — and now folks in regional parts of the state are getting another early mark.
On the advice of the Chief Health Officer, Regional Victoria's lockdown will be lifted.
There remains a significant risk of cases seeding, so we all have to continue to work hard to keep regional Victoria, and all of us safe. pic.twitter.com/0vqNEhQfng
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) September 8, 2021
Just like back in your school days, if you live anywhere in regional Victoria other than Greater Shepparton, you'll be allowed out of the house for whatever reason you like from Friday, September 10. As always happens after a lockdown, however, a number of other restrictions will be put in place. These restrictions will largely mirror the rules in effect before this lockdown — so yes, they'll sound familiar.
The five-kilometre rule is 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 when lockdown lifts: 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 for seated service only, with a cap of 20 people outdoors and 10 people inside. Retail stores, gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons can reopen as well, with a density quota of one person per four-square metres.
Entertainment venues can welcome in up to 300 people per outdoor space, or 25-percent capacity, whichever is smaller, while indoor spaces can have 20 people.
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 1920 active COVID-19 cases, including 221 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 that 70-percent single jab threshold has been met. So, that means that Melburnians can still only leave home for five reasons: shopping for what you need, when you need it; caregiving and compassionate reasons; essential work or permitted education that can't be done from home; exercise; and getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Lockdown in Regional Victoria, other than in Greater Shepparton, will end at 11.59pm on Thursday, September 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 September 08, 2021 by Sarah Ward