Victoria's Lockdown Is Ending But New Venue and Gathering Restrictions Will Be in Effect
A range of familiar rules will be put in place, including a continued ban on having visitors to your house, a ten-person gathering cap outdoors, and density limits for hospitality and retail businesses.
After almost two weeks under stay-at-home conditions, Victoria will emerge from its latest lockdown at 11.59pm tonight, Tuesday, July 27. But, as has been the case after previous stints at home, life isn't returning to normality just yet, with Premier Daniel Andrews announcing both the end of lockdown and the next range of restrictions that'll be effective from this evening.
Life won't actually be returning to normality for some time, the Premier noted, although he did call today's changes "significant". It's expected that these just-announced restrictions will remain in place for the next two weeks; however, it's also likely some form of restrictions will be in effect until vaccinations are available to more of the Victorian population.
Wondering what your day-to-day existence will look like for the next fortnight? All of the just-revealed rules will be overwhelmingly familiar, as they've been in place in some shape or form during the state's ongoing response to COVID-19 over the past 18 months. Indeed, Victorians are definitely accustomed to venue and gathering restrictions by now. Also in the been-there, done-that category: limits on how many people can attend workplaces, and mandatory mask-wearing both inside and outdoors.
First up: the rules around leaving the house will all lift, so you'll be able to go out for whatever reason you like. And, unlike when the last lockdown ended, you'll be able to venture as far as you like as well. The five-kilometre rule is being scrapped, and the Victorian Government isn't bringing in any other travel restrictions — 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.
If you're keen to catch up with your nearest and dearest, you'll be able to gather outdoors in public with up to ten people. You still won't be able to have anyone come over to your house, though.
Also, food and hospitality businesses will be able to open with a cap of 100 people inside and 300 outside, as well as a density quota of one person per four-square metres. Retail stores, gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons can also reopen, with the same density cap, as can live music venues and dance classes.
Large events won't be able to have crowds, though — so there'll be "no crowd at the footy, no crowd at large events, theatres, all those sorts of gatherings for at least two weeks," the Premier said. Indoor seated entertainment venues can have 100 people, while outdoor seated entertainment venues can have 300. The same limits apply to non-seated venues, with the one person per four-square metres rule in place if there isn't seating.
Offices can welcome in 25 percent of their employees, too — or ten people at a time, whichever is greater. Weddings and funerals can have 50 attendees.
And, masks will still remain mandatory both indoors and out — so the rules there aren't changing at all.
Announcing the new restrictions and addressing the past two weeks, Premier Andrews said he knows that lockdowns are difficult. "It is taxing, it is a pain, it is difficult, it is very, very challenging. It is the only thing that works against this virus — so I am deeply grateful to every single Victorian who has done the right thing," he said.
He continued: "today is a good day — a good, positive day — but there's a lot of work that still has to be done. Please wear your mask when you're supposed to be wearing your mask. Please get tested whenever you've got even the mildest of symptoms. Please don't go and visit mum and dad at their place and think "no one will know, we're desperate to see them, we'll just sneak in, it will be OK" — no, it won't. That's how this virus spreads. So we all have to play our part and we all to be vigilant."
Victoria currently has 198 active COVID-19 cases, including just ten new local cases identified in the 24 hours to midnight last night.
Melbourne's lockdown will end at 11.59pm on Tuesday, July 27. 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 July 27, 2021 by Sarah Ward