In extremely positive news for Victorians, Melbourne has today dropped ever-so-slightly below the threshold that will be required for the city to move to Step 2 of the roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions next week.

In this morning’s release of daily COVID-19 stats, the Victorian DHHS confirmed that Melbourne is now at a 14-day average of 49.6 new COVID-19 cases. That’s below the threshold of 50 cases that the Andrews Government’s roadmap stipulates as a requirement for the next step.

For Melbourne to successfully move to the next phase of eased restrictions, that number will need to remain at lower than 50 from September 28th – which is Monday week.

Today’s numbers also confirm that 42 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Melbourne across the past 24 hours. That also stands as something of a milestone, as Wednesdays have statistically represented the high point of the week for new cases, largely due to testing backlogs from the weekends.

Step 2 is scheduled to come into effect from September 28th, and requires a 14-day average case load of between 30 and 50 new cases. It’s also hinged on public health advice regarding community transmission and cases with unknown sources.

If Melbourne does move to Step 2 as scheduled, residents will be able to have outdoor social interaction gatherings of up to 5 people from a maximum of 2 households. Outdoor exercise with a personal trainer will be permitted to resume, and schools will begin a phased return to face-to-face learning. The 9pm – 5am curfew, as well as the 5km movement restrictions, will remain in place.

Private indoor gatherings are not scheduled to be permitted until Step 3 of the roadmap, which is set for October 26th. That requires a state-wide 14-day average case number of 5 or less. From that point, a maximum of 5 people from no more than 2 households will be able to gather indoors.

Under those conditions, hospitality businesses such as pubs and cafes will be able to resume in-person service, but for predominantly outdoor seating areas only. Indoor seated service is scheduled to resume as part of the Last Step of the roadmap, which begins from November 23rd at this stage.