Victoria Will Further Ease Gathering, Entertainment and Travel Restrictions from May 31

Victorians will be able to gather in groups of 20 at home and outdoors, book a night away, and visit galleries, museums, drive-ins, zoos and outdoor amusement parks.
Sarah Ward
May 24, 2020

Victoria's gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions is set to continue, with Premier Daniel Andrews mapping out the next two phases of the state's easing of lockdown conditions. And if you've been eager to hang out with more than a just few mates, spend a night away, or wander around a gallery, zoo or outdoor amusement park, it's all great and welcome news.

Two weeks ago, the first stage of eased restrictions for the state were announced, which came into place at midnight the next day — allowing five visitors allowed inside a house, and gatherings of ten outside. Then, last weekend, the Premier advised that cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs would be able to reopen to dine-in customers from Monday, June 1.

Now, today, Sunday, May 24, the Premier has outlined a heap of additional activities that will be permissible from 11.59pm on Sunday, May 31. That's when the current State of Emergency is due to end, and the list of changes is lengthy, with all of the following back on the cards:

  • Up to 20 people in your home, including both residents and visitors.
  • Gatherings of up to 20 people outside of the house.
  • Gatherings of up to 20 people in libraries, youth centres and other community facilities, in addition to the people needed to operate the space.
  • Weddings with up to 20 people, plus the celebrant and couple getting married.
  • Church gatherings of up to 20 people, in addition to those required to conduct the service.
  • Funerals with up to 50 people, in addition to those required to conduct the service.
  • Overnight stays at private residences and paid accommodation, including campgrounds and caravan parks — but not those with communal facilities such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • The reopening of entertainment and cultural venues such as galleries, museums, drive-in cinemas, historic sites, zoos and outdoor amusement parks — with 20-person limits, and with indoor venues required to collect customer details for contact tracing.
  • The reopening of swimming pools, with 20-person limits and other safety requirements in place.
  • Community sporting activities with up to 20 people in undivided spaces, as long as the sport is outdoors, non-competition, and non-contact — and that people can play 1.5 metres apart.
  • The reopening of beauty and personal care services — such as nail salons, spas, tattoo parlours — with 20-person limits, and with businesses required to collect customer details for contact tracing.
  • Auctions and open inspections with a 20-person limit, and with agents required to collect attendee details for contact tracing.
  • The reopening of non-food and drink market stalls.

In addition, outdoor playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor communal gym equipment will be allowed to reopen on Tuesday, May 26 — in-line with the return of students to schools.

If all goes well, the next stage of eased restrictions will come into effect at 11.59pm Sunday, June 21. That said, the Victorian Government will continue to assess community transmission and testing rates before giving the go-ahead to loosen more limits.

When the next stage does start in Victoria, indoor fitness and recreation facilities will be allowed to open with up to 20 people inside — and up to 10 people per group or activity at any one time. In an increase from current 20-person caps, 50 people will be permitted inside cafes, restaurants and hotels, as well as museums. That limit will also apply to cinemas, theatres and concert venues, which'll be able to reopen for the first time.

And, the Victorian snow season will also start on June 22.

At each stage, the standard social-distancing requirements will still apply — so sticking physical distancing, maintaining four square metres per person indoors, hand and cough hygiene, and frequent cleaning and disinfection.

Victorians are also advised to continue to work from home if they are able, at least until the end of June.

Announcing the eased restrictions, Premier Andrews noted that "with the rate of community transmission remaining low, and the rate of testing remaining high, we're in a position to make a number of additional changes." He explained that the new relaxed limits were guided by still "limiting the number of people moving around our state".

And, regarding working from home specifically, he advised: "we just can't afford to have millions of people moving around our state — taking public transport or using the communal kitchen. Let alone when you think about the logistical challenges of getting people in and out of lifts or lobbies."

To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

Top image: Salon Gallery at NGV International, photo by NGV Photographic Services.

Published on May 24, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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