Melbournians will emerge from lockdown as planned from midnight tomorrow, but some restrictions will remain in place as the state continues to try and get the upper hand on their latest COVID-19 outbreak.
After two weeks of being housebound, the five essential reasons to leave home will officially be scrapped for Melbourne residents from 11.59pm Thursday.
However, a 25-kilometre travel limit from home has been brought in, to prevent people from travelling over the upcoming Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
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“That means the only reasons to go further than 25km will be for work, education, caregiving or getting a vaccination,” Acting Premier James Merlino said at the state’s much anticipated press conference on Wednesday.
“Travel into regional Victoria still remains a no-go for now.”
As part of the eased restrictions, outdoor gatherings in the Melbourne region will be allowed to go ahead with up to 10 people, while hospitality venues can reopen for seated service only with a maximum of 50 people indoors.
Children can also head back to school for face-to-face learning, funerals will be allowed with 50 mourners and weddings have been given the green light with a cap of 10 people, however home gatherings are still off-limits, along with nightclubs, gyms and amusement parks.
When it comes to face masks, they will no longer be required outdoors when social distancing is maintained.
There’s also some more good news for those in regional Victoria, with Mr Merlino confirming residents can welcome two adult visitors into their homes from Friday, along with dependants.
Public gatherings there have also been increased, with restaurants and cafes also given more freedoms to host additional customers.
It comes after the state recorded one new COVID-19 case today, a person linked to an existing cluster who had fortunately been isolating for their infectious period.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton acknowledged that it had been an “awfully painful period” and thanked everyone for all of their sacrifices.
“I have always had in mind that we need to do what is required to make sure that we get back down to zero,” Professor Sutton said.
“There is really no alternative. Our national strategy of aggressive suppression is there for a reason.”
There are now 83 COVID-19 cases that remain active across the whole state.