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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Victoria Is Reverting to the State's Pre-Christmas COVID-19 Rules From Midnight Tonight

You'll be able to have 30 people over to your house again, and gather in public in groups of 100.
By Sarah Ward
February 26, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
February 26, 2021
  shares

Before Christmas, after two lockdowns throughout the year, Victoria had settled into its version of what Premier Daniel Andrews has repeatedly dubbed a 'COVID-safe summer'. Then a cluster of cases in Sydney spilled over to the state, and caused harsher restrictions to come back into effect just before 2020 wrapped up. And, earlier in February, another rise in cases linked to Melbourne's Holiday Inn saw a five-day snap lockdown implemented.

In other words, Victoria's coronavirus rules have tightened and eased several times in recent months, with the last set of changes coming into effect back on Tuesday, February 16. On that date, Premier Andrews did flag that more rules could ease on Friday, February 26 if case numbers remained low. That latter day is now here, and the Premier has indeed announced that Victorians will be able to do more things in more places with more people from 11.59pm this evening.

Those settings that were in place before Christmas? They're coming back. So, the state will revert to the rules that everyone was abiding by before restrictions were implemented in the lead up to New Year's Eve.

That means that Victorians can host more people in their houses, with the cap going up to 30 folks from any number of other households. That's a daily limit, so you can only have 30 people over across one whole day, even if they come at different times in different groups — and your home also includes your front and back yards.

Fancy heading outdoors with your nearest and dearest elsewhere, beyond your own patch of land? In good news, public outdoor gatherings will increase back to 100. So your next trip to the beach or the park with your mates can now feature quite the crowd.

After AFL fans watched the bulk of the 2020 men's season take place either outside of the state or without crowds in Victoria (including the AFL Grand Final), the news that the MCG and Marvel Stadium will both be able to increase to 50-percent capacity will also be welcome.

Also, from midnight tonight – but more realistically coming into effect on Monday — 75 percent of both public and private sector workers will be able to head back to their offices.

If you're wondering about masks, the rules are changing there as well. You'll need to keep wearing them only in certain situations, such as large and busy indoor indoor shops, and on public transport. You will always need to carry one with you, though.

Rules for hospitality and retail businesses aren't changing at the moment. For restaurants, cafes, bars and eateries, the one person per two-square-metres rule remains in effect both indoors and outdoors, but only once 25 people are onsite. And, for shops, the one person per two-square-metres rule applies, with no other caps.

At entertainment venues, more folks will be allowed in the door. Seated indoor venues, including cinemas, can now max out at 75-percent capacity — up to a total of 1000 people. Indoor non-seated venues such as galleries will have a 50-percent cap up to 1000 people, as well as the one person per two-square-metres rule if they're using electronic record keeping to track attendees (and one person per four-square-metres otherwise). Both seated and non-seated outdoor venues can continue to host 75-percent crowds, with the same rules on density and record keeping applying.

As always, the usual hygiene and social distancing practices remain in place, as does the request to get tested if you exhibit even minor COVID-19 symptoms.

Victoria currently has 17 active coronavirus cases, as at midnight on Thursday, February 25.

Restrictions in Victoria will change again at 11.59pm on Friday, February 26. For more information about the rules moving forward, head to the Victorian Department of Health website

Published on February 26, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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