Restrictions to ease further on Friday

More people will be allowed in hospitality venues.

David Braithwaite

RESTRICTIONS will ease across Victoria from midnight tomorrow (Thursday) night.

In regional Victoria, people can have up to two visitors (plus their dependants) per day, while public outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people.

All retail, hairdressing, beauty and personal care businesses can open with a density quotient of one person per four square metres.

Cafes, restaurants and food courts can open for seated service only to a maximum of 150 people, with no more than 75 indoors. Group sizes will be capped at 10 people.

Indoor fixed seated entertainment venues, such as cinemas and theatres, can open to 50 per cent of seated capacity, up to 75 people per venue. Outdoor fixed seated venues will be open to 50 per cent capacity, up to 150 people.

Indoor non-seated entertainment venues, such as galleries, can open to a maximum of 75 people per venue.

Up to 150 people can attend religious gatherings and ceremonies (with no more than 75 people indoors), with a density quotient of one person per four square metres. Up to 75 people, excluding children under 12, plus those necessary to conduct the ceremony, can attend a funeral, while weddings will be capped at 20 people, including the people getting married, the celebrant and two witnesses.

Indoor physical recreation and sport, including gyms, will be able to open with capacity limits.

People of all ages will be able to take part in community sport (indoor and outdoor) for training and competition.

Visitors still won’t be allowed to care facilities and hospitals, except for end-of-life reasons and other essential care and support.

From midnight tomorrow, metropolitan Melbourne will move to most of the restrictions regional Victoria currently has.

The five reasons to leave home will no longer apply in metro Melbourne, and the existing 10-kilometre limit will be increased to 25km. Travel into regional Victoria will still be prohibited.

Acting Premier James Merlino said restrictions would be eased further next week, subject to public health advice.

“That includes the regional border coming down and Victorians being able to travel more freely around the state,” he said.

“For Melbourne, we’ll also look to further ease restrictions on venues and get community sport back to competition. We’ll also look at what more can be done to ease restrictions for businesses, without risking the gains we have made.

“Further work will also be done on easing for regional Victoria.

“Today is a good day, there’s no doubt about it. And we should absolutely be proud of what we’ve all achieved – but let me just say this: it isn’t over yet, and until we have widespread vaccination, this virus will still be with us.

“We all know how fragile this thing is. We’ve seen how easily it can take hold. And if we allow complacency to creep back even a little, we could lose everything we’ve worked so hard to protect.

“There’s still work to do, there’s still our state to keep safe. And we’ll need every Victorian to help do just that.”