For the first time in months, Melburnians will be free from COVID-19 travel restrictions within Victoria.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday announced “families will be able to be together again” as he scrapped Melbourne’s 25 kilometer-from-home metropolitan travel limit and removed the city’s ‘ring of steel’ which had prevented people from visiting regional areas.
The new rules start from midnight.
“Both the 25km limit and the ring of steel, the metropolitan regional Victoria border, comes down as well,” he said.
Travel freedom is set to expand again when the New South Wales border reopens to Victorians on Nov. 23.
Andrew’s announcement coincided with the state’s ninth straight day without a new COVID-19 case.
The 14-day average for daily cases in Melbourne sits at 0.4 and there are two cases with an unknown source.
A number of other restrictions will also ease from Monday, including hospitality numbers increasing to 40 indoor patrons and 70 outdoor patrons.
Health Minister Martin Foley on Saturday announced an enforcement blitz on businesses and workplaces posing a high risk of COVID-19 transmission would be conducted over the weekend.
Compliance checks by police, Work Safe and the Department of Health and Human Services could see offenders hit with fines of up to $10,000.
“Overwhelmingly Victorian businesses are doing the right thing,” Foley told reporters on Saturday.
The run of low or zero cases has allowed Victoria to welcome the first international flights to Melbourne since June 30, with the resumption of flights from New Zealand from Monday.
Victoria’s COVID-19 death toll is 819, and 907 people have died from the virus across Australia.
By Marty Silk and Tiffanie Turnbull