Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that Victorians will, from midnight tomorrow night, be allowed up to 5 guests in a home in the state’s first relaxation of its coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Premier Andrews confirmed the move in a press conference this morning, following the expiration of Victoria’s State of Emergency order at midnight last night.
Andrews also confirmed that groups of up to 10 people will be allowed to gather outside for the purposes of exercise.
Victorian officials have conducted a staggering 160,000 tests over the past two weeks, giving a clearer picture on the extent of the virus in the public, paving the way for lockdown restrictions to be gradually peeled back today.
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Per a subsequent statement released by the Premier’s office, Victorians will now also be able to hold weddings with up to 10 guests, and funerals will now be permitted to host 20 guests if held indoors and 30 if held outside.
These new conditions will be in place for the coming three weeks, until 11:59pm on Sunday May 31st. That sits in conjunction with a refreshed State of Emergency order, which runs concurrently until the same time. At that point, conditions in Victoria will be assessed and movement restrictions will be adjusted accordingly.
Premier Andrews was at pains to stress that the new movement allowances come with the caveat that “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,” and that Victorians should still be practising responsibly hygiene and social distancing measures as an absolute first priority, particularly when it comes to family members or friends with pre-existing health conditions or compromised immune systems.
The movement restrictions do not permit overnight stays, meaning hotels and AirBnBs will still be unable to take bookings, and caravan parks and camping grounds will remain closed.
The outdoor gathering limit does, however, pave the way for AFL clubs to resume training in Victoria, meaning the league can move one step closer to a rumoured mid-June return date.
Andrews was measured and direct in his messaging about the new movement allowances, asserting “I know this will come as a welcome relief, but I need to be clear. Although these are our first steps back towards normalcy, they are not an invitation to host a dinner party every night of the week.”
“It’s not about having a rotating roster of acquaintances and associates – or your third best friend from primary school – over for a visit. This is about seeing those you need to, if you need to,” the Premier stated.