Regional Victoria to take next step out of restrictions

Hopes rules will be relaxed

REGIONAL Victoria will take the next step out of coronavirus restrictions at midnight on Wednesday night.

Regional Victoria on Tuesday reached a 14-day average of 3.6 and with no mystery cases, reaching the necessary “trigger point” in the state’s roadmap. Premier Daniel Andrews said public health experts have advised the next step can be taken.

“I can announce, that from 11.59pm tomorrow, regional communities will progress to the third step of our reopening roadmap,” Mr Andrews said on Tuesday.

“Today is testament to the determination of regional Victorians. A determination to not only get these numbers low – but to keep them low.

“It’s also good news for every Victorian, wherever they live.

“Because it shows – in very real terms – the strategy is working. The hard work of all Victorians is paying off.”

“Household bubbles” will now be introduced. A household can choose one other household to be in a bubble, with up to five visitors from one household able to visit another.

“I understand some people will likely want more and sooner. But the bubble arrangement means people can begin to visit each other at home slowly, cautiously – so that if the worst were to happen, we can effectively track and trace the spread of the virus,” Mr Andrews said.

“If you are catching up with friends and family, we encourage you to do it outside. All the latest evidence says being outdoors reduces the risk.”

People will be able to gather in groups of 10 in outdoor public areas, without a limit on the number of households.

Outdoor contact and non-contact sport will begin for regional children aged up to 18 years, as well as outdoor non-contact sport for adults.

There will be a staged return to onsite learning for all regional students in the first two weeks of term four.

The numbers for weddings and funerals will increase, and religious gatherings can happen outdoors with up to 10 people.

Hospitality businesses will be able to serve patrons outdoors, with a cap of 50 seated patrons per venue, and an updated ‘two square metre’ density limit in place.

Indoors, venues can open with a cap of 10 seated customers per space – with up to two spaces per venue – and in line with the existing ‘four square metre’ density rule.

Tables must be spaced at least 1.5m apart, cleaned after every customer and the details of all patrons must be kept.

Beauty and personal care services will also be available with a face covering.

Outdoor events like a play in the park or an open-air cinema can take place, in accordance with other restrictions.

Regional real estate agents will be able to hold auctions outdoors with up to 10 people.

Travel can resume for regional Victorians holidaying anywhere in regional Victoria.

All businesses across Victoria will be required to have a COVIDSafe Plan, enforceable from September 28.