Victoria Makes Major Restriction Changes

Victoria Makes Major Restriction Changes
A man runs along a waterway amid lockdown restrictions in Melbourne, Australia, on July 10, 2020. (Sandra Sanders/Reuters)

Melbourne retail and hospitality businesses can finally reopen amid a major easing of the city’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a raft of changes that will come into effect from midnight on Tuesday.

There will be a maximum of 20 people seated indoors for hospitality venues, with 10 per space, and 50 outdoors.

Beauty, personal services and tattoo parlours will also reopen.

People can also visit other houses with much more freedom, although details will be revealed on Tuesday.

“Fundamentally, this belongs to every single Victorian, every single Victorian who has followed the rules, stayed the course, worked with me and my team, to bring this second wave to an end,” an emotional premier said.

“But it is not over. This virus is not going away. It is going to continue to be a feature of our lives. It is going to be a feature of our lives every day until a vaccine turns up. These are big steps.”

Andrews also announced the 25 kilometres travel limit and the “ring of steel” separating Melbourne from regional Victoria will stop on Nov. 8.

The announcement came after Victoria had a clean daily coronavirus sheet for the first time in more than four months, with no deaths or new cases.

Monday’s DHHS figures showed average daily diagnoses over the past fortnight down to 3.6 for Melbourne and seven mystery cases from Oct. 10-23.

The corresponding figures for regional areas are 0.2 and zero.

Equally as important, a testing blitz confirmed an outbreak in the northern suburbs that delayed Monday’s announcement by 24 hours appears to be under control.

Andrews’ daily media conference was delayed on Monday until mid-afternoon as the government awaited latest test results from the outbreak area.

More than 4000 tests across the affected area have all come back negative, Andrews confirmed.

Victoria hasn’t reported zero COVID-19 deaths and cases since June 9. Its death toll stands at 817 and the nation’s at 905.

The Victorian government has been under intense pressure to ease restrictions.

All Victorian students are now back in the classroom, with 163,000 of them from Year 8-10 in Melbourne returning to on-site learning on Monday.