PREMIER ANNOUNCES EASING OF CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS, ALLOWING MORE FREEDOM FOR HOUSEHOLDS AND VENUES
Shepparton’s evolving COVID-19 cluster has not prevented regional Victoria from taking another step towards reopening.
A series of restrictions have been eased as of last night, with hospitality across Shepparton the big winner.
With no further cases being diagnosed in connection to the Shepparton cluster, venues will be free to open further in line with the changes immediately.
The number of people allowed in hospitality venues has doubled, with up to 40 people in maximum group sizes of 10 allowed inside venues, and up to 70 outside.
It’s one of many changes relating to the number of people who can gather.
Locals will now be allowed more people in their households, with the “household bubble” scrapped.
There are now two adults plus their dependents allowed in another household at a time.
Indoor pools will be able to open to people under the age of 18, with a maximum of 20 swimmers at a time, and one-on-one hydrotherapy with health professionals will also be allowed.
Outdoor religious gatherings will be able to increase to 20 people, while libraries and toy libraries will open to a maximum of 20 people.
Households will also be able to visit a care facility instead of just one person a day.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the changes yesterday morning, saying the easing of restrictions was the result of Victoria’s recent performance in suppressing the virus.
“Victorians have done an amazing job over recent weeks and months,” he said.
“What it means is that as so many cities across the world head into what is going to be a deadly winter, we across Victoria are well-placed to have a COVID-safe summer and a COVID-normal 2021.”
And there could be even more easing next weekend.
Mr Andrews also announced that, from November 1, non-contact indoor physical recreation such as dance classes would be allowed for 20 people under 18, as would non-contact indoor community sport for under-18s, with limits on spectators.
However the premier said depending on the outcomes of cases in the following week, these changes could be brought forward to October 25.
“But if we continue to track well on the most important indicators — case averages, mystery cases, test numbers and the number of days people wait before they get tested — we may be in a position to move sooner,” Mr Andrews said.
“These indicators help tell us the story that sits behind a case, and understand how we can safely make our next moves.”
But metropolitan Melbourne will remain cut off from regional Victoria until all areas are on the same level of restrictions.
Mr Andrews said extra checkpoints would be added to the
‘‘ring of steel’’ to prevent Melbourne residents from making their way to regional areas.
He said he hoped all travel restrictions would be eased in time for the Christmas period.
“We have seen some pretty positive signs there, and in terms of regional Victoria I would like to think we are able to have much more freedom of movement.”
Testing blitz: Drive-through COVID-19 testing at Shepparton Sports Stadium.
Backed up: People waiting for COVID-19 tests at Shepparton Sports Stadium.