The last time Victoria recorded no new coronavirus cases was back in June – 139 days ago. Now the state is taking more steps to open Melbourne back up, with official advice moving from ‘stay home’ to ‘stay safe’.
Starting from 11:59 PM on Tuesday, October 27, shops, restaurants, bars and heaps of other things will open once again.
“These are big steps,” Premier Dan Andrews said.
“We have all given a lot, I’m so proud and impressed and humbled by the contribution that so many Victorian families have made, so many Victorian businesses have made.”
Here’s what the go is from Wednesday.
All shops – not just supermarkets and other essentials – will be able to reopen, provided they’re following COVIDSafe measures.
Andrews made it loud and clear, saying “all retail will open”.
This also includes beauty salons and tattoo studios, as long as people are wearing masks.
In order to get things up and running smoothly, staff are actually able to return to work right now just to set things up in the safest way possible.
Then, come Wednesday, the rest of us will be able to pop in and buy whatever we want/need/lust for.
the culture pic.twitter.com/mfUM4aFIFc
— Bec Shaw (@Brocklesnitch) October 26, 2020
Cafes, restaurants and bars
Melbourne: prepare to get back on the beers.
Starting from Wednesday, cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars can all open back up again. That’s not just for takeaway, but for dining in, too.
Up to 20 people will be allowed to be seated indoors, with no more than 10 people per room.
Up to 50 people can be seated in outdoor venues, provided they’re under the density limit.
It’s an extremely well-earned milestone, and the perfect way to celebrate coming so far.
Leaving the house
“The four reasons to leave home will be removed,” Andrews said.
Nevertheless, everyone in Melbourne still has to stay within 25 km of their home address.
The limit on outdoor gatherings will also remain capped at 10 people (excluding babies) but the rule that you can only be from two households has now been scrapped.
That means you can theoretically chill in the park with nine mates (if you even have that many).
Restrictions on having mates over are expected to be eased at the same time as everything else, but we won’t know the details until tomorrow.
“We don’t want to do a bubble, we think that gets difficult, and we think there is a simpler way to go forward,” Andrews said.
Unlike retail and hospo staff, who’ll get a “dark opening” to get things up and running before the actual reopening, the restrictions on gatherings at home are firm and won’t be eased until Wednesday.
“That is for tomorrow, and we will speak to that in some detail, but it will come into effect at 11:59 PM tomorrow night so there is no time lost, it is just a matter of settling the arrangements and having them as simple as they can possibly be,” he added.
Sport is back on.
Outdoor community sport for under-18s can start again, as can outdoor non-contact sport for adults.
Personal training and dance classes can also be held outdoors for up to 10 people.
Outdoor swimming pools can also hold up to 50 people, as long as they’re below the density limits.
Weddings, funerals and religious services
Outdoor religious gatherings can be as big as 20 people (not counting the people running the service), while indoor gatherings can be up to 10 people.
The limit on weddings has been upped to 10 people, and funerals can now have up to 20 people.
What’s next for Melbourne?
From November 8, even more restrictions will be lifted, if everything goes to plan.
The 25 km travel limit will be axed, the restaurant, bar and cafe capacity will be upped to 40 people indoors and 70 people outside, and funerals and religious gatherings will be allowed to have even more people.
┃┃╱╲ In this
╱╱╭╮╲╲ we reach for
▔▏┗┛▕▔ the shelf above
— casey briggs (@CaseyBriggs) October 26, 2020
While things are looking good again, and there’s definitely reason to celebrate, Andrews also warned everyone not to become complacent.
“We need to be proud today and optimistic, confident, but we also need to be COVID-19 safe, and I’m very confident that is exactly what Victorians will do,” he said.
Mates, we bloody did it. A huge shoutout to the 5,078,193 fine folks of Melbourne for achieving something that’s unparalleled anywhere else in the world.