In what’s become a regular fixture of Victorian life, a meagre offering of Melbourne restrictions will once again be put in play from tomorrow night. State Government officials have confirmed that the city will “re-join” the rest of Victoria by scrapping the 25km travel limit, and masks will no longer be mandatory in outdoor spaces.
Acting Premier James Merlino announced the raft of changes set to come into effect for Melbourne from 11:59pm tomorrow night, which also once again permit private indoor gatherings while slightly increasing the size of outdoor gatherings.
Melburnians will be allowed just two people to visit their house per day – either as a group or two individuals – with children and dependents not counted in that total. Outdoor gatherings, meanwhile, will increase from 10 people to 20 people. In regional Victoria, those caps increase to five people for indoor gatherings, and 50 people for outdoor gatherings.
Workplaces will also see an increase in capacity limits, with metropolitan offices permitted 50% capacity (or up to 20 people if the total number in the workplace is less than 40), while regional Victorian offices will gain a 75% return, or up to 30 people if the total is below 40. Although the recommendation that if you can work from home, you should remains.
Gyms will once again be permitted to re-open in Melbourne, with venue caps of 50 people for indoor facilities. Similarly, pubs and cafes will have their venue caps increased to 150 per venue with no more than 75 indoors. Seated service will remain in place for the time being. Dance floors are not permitted to return at this time.
Friday night’s AFL clash between Geelong and the Western Bulldogs will now allow 7,000 fans through the door, having previously been faced with a 0 crowd. Punters must be a member of either club, and must reside locally – within the Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Queenscliffe, or Colac Otway local government areas. The new Melbourne restrictions will not permit city residents to attend.
Elsewhere, casinos, gaming rooms, and karaoke venues will be permitted to re-open with density limits. Brothels and sex work facilities will also be permitted to re-open under the eased restrictions.
Interestingly enough, today’s announcement also includes specific advice for people travelling from metropolitan Melbourne to Victoria’s ski fields. Anyone from Melbourne must return a negative COVID test within the 72 hours prior to departing in order to be permitted to enter a ski field or resort.
Victoria recorded 5 new cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 yesterday, however all cases are attached to known clusters.
In a statement, Merlino asserted that if case numbers in Victoria remain low – or drop to zero – and are limited to pre-existing clusters, then the Government will be in a position to further ease Melbourne restrictions next Thursday.