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Victoria Is Easing Venue and Gathering Limits Even Further From Midnight Tonight

At-home gathering limits will increase again in mid-December, too — just in time for Christmas.
By Sarah Ward
November 22, 2020
By Sarah Ward
November 22, 2020

The past two months have been big for Melburnians, and for Victoria as a whole as well. The state has now clocked up 23 consecutive days without any new COVID-19 cases, and restrictions keep relaxing — with even more set to ease tonight, Sunday, November 22.

When Premier Daniel Andrews announced the last coronavirus roadmap changes back on Sunday, November 8, he also outlined plans for the next stage, which comes into effect at 11.59pm this evening. Of particular interest: rules around venues and gatherings, so prepare to spend some more time in more places with more people.

In the hospitality sector, bigger venues will be able to welcome in up to 100 people indoors and 200 outside (with one person per four square metres), up to a cap of 300 in total. Smaller venues, under 200 square metres of floor space, will be have up to 50 people at once (with a less-strict density cap of one person per two square metres). And, regardless of size, all venues will need to use QR codes to track patrons.

Both seated and non-seated entertainment venues (such as cinemas and galleries) will be able to welcome in up to 150 people per space. For larger sites, such as the National Gallery of Victoria, they'll be able to operate at a density up to 25-percent of their capacity. Drive-in cinemas won't have any caps, and community venues and libraries will be allowed 150 people inside and 300 people outside.

Public outdoor gatherings will increase to 50 and private gatherings — so, folks coming over to your house — will increase to 15 from any number of other households. The latter is a daily limit, however, so you can only have 15 people over across one whole day, even if they come at different times in various-sized groups.

Also, travel-wise, you'll be able to head out of town in line with the private gathering cap (so in groups of 15 people from any number of other households).

Gyms and fitness studios will increase to a maximum of 150 people per venue in groups of 20 people, with one person per four square metres. Indoor pools can have 150 people, while outdoor pools can host 300 people. And religious gatherings will be able to have 150 people indoors and 300 outdoors. Weddings will also be able to have 150 people in attendance.

Regarding masks, the rules are changing there as well. You'll need to keep wearing them indoors and on public transport, and also where you're unable to maintain social distancing. Otherwise, if you're outdoors and you can keep a safe distance, masks will no longer be compulsory.

Premier Andrews also announced a few future dates of importance — and revealed what's in store on each date. The first, on Monday, November 30, is when office staff can start heading back to working onsite. That's capped at 25 percent of workers, and only applies to the private sector, with public sector employees continuing to work from home.

On Sunday, December 6, the next stage of eased restrictions will be unveiled, getting the state closer to the step it's calling 'COVID-normal'. But it has already been revealed that, from 11.59pm on Sunday, December 13, Victorians will be able to host more people in their homes. Yes, it's timed for Christmas gatherings — and the cap will go up from 15 to 30. Again, that's a daily limit, so you can only have 30 people over across one whole day, even if they come at different times.

Running through all of the above, Premier Andrews noted the enormous change in Victoria's COVID-19 situation in the past few months. "Three months ago, Victoria had 4293 active cases. Today we have one. It's an incredible achievement. And the clearest evidence there is of our determination to not only get on top of this virus – but to squash it."

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: Kate Shanasy.

Published on November 22, 2020 by Sarah Ward


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