States that have successfully suppressed the COVID-19 situation will soon allow their residents a taste of pre-pandemic-style freedom.
South Australia will join Western Australia in halving the density rules for people in restaurants, bars, shops and other indoor venues to two square metres per patron.
The move, which effectively doubles the capacity of each venue, has been welcomed by the hospitality industry.
But Victorians are contemplating the prospect of a return to tougher lockdowns amid fears about a spike in new virus cases.
The state’s hotels are under fire for failing to effectively quarantine people with COVID-19.
The issue will be raised at a national cabinet meeting on June 26.
“Certainly breaches of those quarantine rules are very serious and we know the broader implications they have for the health of the nation,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Sky News on Wednesday.
“We do need serious rules in place to ensure that doesn’t occur.”
Health officials will begin doorknocking hotspots across Melbourne to ensure residents are sticking to government guidelines.
Information in languages other than English will also be provided for multicultural communities in heavily affected areas.
Victoria recorded 17 new infections on Tuesday, with the origins of 11 cases still being investigated.
By contrast, new cases in NSW have only risen by 19 in the past week.
Authorities have largely pinned the spike in cases on large family gatherings.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned people could not pretend the virus had gone.
“It doesn’t matter how many people are doing the wrong thing – everybody, everybody will pay the price if we get to a point where restrictions either localised or across the state need to be re-introduced,” he said.
The NSW premier has warned people from that state should not visit Melbourne and nor should Victorians head north.
“I call on all organisations not to interact with citizens from Melbourne at this stage,” Gladys Berejiklian said.
The national tally of cases is 7492, with close to 7000 recovered while 102 people have died.
It has been a month since the last recorded COVID-19 death in Australia.
Katina Curtis and Finbar O’Mallon