Melbourne Is Remaining in Lockdown for Another Week, But Restrictions Will Ease in Regional Victoria
Victoria's statewide stay-at-home period was initially slated to end at 11.59pm on Thursday, June 3, but will now remain in place in Melbourne until the same time on Thursday, June 10.
For almost a week, since 11.59pm on Thursday, May 27, 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; however, as its target end date approaches — and as more cases keep being reported, and more venues added to the exposure sites list — the Victorian Government has announced that lockdown will continue, but only in Melbourne.
As Acting Premier James Merlino advised today, Wednesday, June 2, the current stage four restrictions will remain in place for seven more days in the state's capital, with a new end date of 11.59pm on Thursday, June 10 announced. Melburnians are obviously familiar with the rules and restrictions from previous lockdowns, and from the past week. At present, you can only leave 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.
That said, from 11.59pm on Thursday, June 3, a few minor tweaks will be made to the current rules in Melbourne — even though the five reasons to leave the house still apply. Exercise is still limited to two hours a day with your household members, your intimate partner or one other person who is not from your household or your partner, but you'll now be able to venture up to ten kilometres from your house while you're working out or shopping. You can only venture further if you're leaving for permitted work, or if you're shopping for essentials if there are no shops in your radius.
Some outdoor jobs, such as landscaping, painting installing solar panels or letterboxing, will also be able to resume. And, face-to-face classes will return as well, but just for Year 11 and 12 students.
The rest of the rules remain in place in Melbourne, so masks remain mandatory everywhere outside of your home — and private gatherings are banned, as are public gatherings. You can't have any visitors enter your home, unless you're part of a single bubbles. So, if you live alone, you're allowed to form a bubble with another person.
Weddings still aren't permitted, unless on compassionate grounds, while funerals are limited to ten. Hairdressing and beauty services, indoor physical recreation and sporting venues, swimming pools, community facilities including libraries, entertainment venues and non-essential retail venues remain closed — and hospitality venues can still only serve takeaways.
Supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies remain open — and professional sports can proceed, but without crowds.
And, regarding vaccinations, the state has been rolling out the vaccine to everyone over the age of 40 since Friday, May 28. Victorians aged between 40–49 years will be able to access to the Pfizer vaccine via the state's vaccination sites.
Announcing the extension of Melbourne's lockdown, Acting Premier James Merlino said that the city is facing "a variant of the virus that is quicker and more contagious than we've seen before." Staying under stay-at-home conditions for a further seven days will give the city "a full 14 days — one full cycle of the virus — to make sure we understand how and where this mutation is moving," he noted. And, regarding what'll happen next week, "at the end of another seven days, we do expect to be in a position to carefully ease restrictions in Melbourne," he advised.
While Melbourne will remain in lockdown under the above conditions, the five reasons to leave the house will be lifted in regional Victoria from 11.59pm on Thursday, June 3. If you live outside of the city, however, you can only travel into Melbourne for one of the permitted reasons — and, once you're there, you have to follow Melbourne restrictions.
Regional Victorian residents will be able to gather outdoors with up to ten people, food and hospitality businesses will be able to open for seated service only — with a cap of 50 people per venue, and with one person per four-square-metre density limit — and retail stores can also reopen. Religious gatherings and ceremonies can return with 50 people, weddings can have ten attendees and 50 mourners can go to funerals.
Also part of the regional Victorian changes: 50 people in outdoor pools, including swimming classes; 50-person caps at libraries; and the same cap — or a 50-percent capacity limit, whichever is lower — at outdoor entertainment venues.
The lockdown changes come as Victoria now has 67 active COVID-19 cases, including six new cases identified in the 24 hours to midnight last night. Genomic sequencing indicates that current outbreak is linked to a positive case out of hotel quarantine in South Australia from earlier in May. Since the first new cases in this cluster were reported back on Monday, May 24, a whopping 357 locations are currently listed as exposure sites by Victoria's Department of Health — a list that has been growing quickly.
Melbourne's stage four restrictions will remain in place until 11.59pm on Thursday, June 10. For more information about the rules, head to the Victorian Department of Health website.
Published on June 02, 2021 by Sarah Ward