Victoria State Wakes to Fewer COVID-19 Rules

Victoria State Wakes to Fewer COVID-19 Rules
Restrictions lifted to limit of 20 person. Brighton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, May 13, 2020. (Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Victorians have woken to more freedom this morning after COVID-19 restrictions were eased but many are unhappy the hospitality and retail industries have been left out.

From Monday, Melburnians will be allowed to travel 25 kilometres from home and there will be no limit on time spent outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings will also increase from five people to 10 from two households, while facilities such as skate parks, golf courses and tennis courts will reopen.

Melburnians will also be able to get a haircut, see an allied health professional, renovate their home, wash their car and bid at an auction, though a number of strict safety protocols will be in place.

“I have announced today what is safe but will not undermine the sacrifice, the hard work, the pain, the amazing efforts that Victorians have put in,” Andrews told reporters on Oct. 18.

In regional Victoria, up to two people plus dependents will be allowed to visit homes once a day, while hospitality venues can increase their capacity to 70 people outside and 40 people inside.

The “ring of steel” that separates metropolitan Melbourne from regional Victoria will remain in place.

Melbourne will take another step on Nov. 2, with hospitality venues be able to seat 50 people outside and 20 people inside, while retail and beauty and personal care services can resume.

People will be allowed to host a maximum of two people plus dependents at their homes once a day.

Andrews, however, indicated the next step could be brought forward, depending on case numbers across Victoria in the next week.

But many industry groups are not impressed.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said it was an “an inexplicable and unacceptable delay.”

“There is no sound reason to continue the restrictions on business, especially with case numbers clearly on a downward trajectory,” she said in a statement.

The Australian Industry Group’s Victorian head Tim Piper said businesses and Victorians expected more.

“There is still no long-term coherent plan to rebuild a shattered Victorian economy,” Piper said.

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said restrictions should have been eased further, especially with respect to small businesses.

Victoria recorded two new coronavirus cases on Sunday—its fifth consecutive day in the single digits - and no deaths.

The state’s death toll from the virus 816 and the national figure is 904.

By Benita Kolovos