South Australia will relax its border restrictions with the ACT from midnight tonight but restrictions on people from New South Wales will remain in place indefinitely.
Regional Victoria will move to step three of its coronavirus reopening plan from Thursday, meaning sitting in a restaurant, meeting up to 10 people outdoors, kids’ sport and travelling for a holiday will all be allowed.
But masks will remain mandatory and there will still be tight restrictions on the number of people who can visit you at home.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the changes were possible because the daily average for new cases in regional Victoria was down to 3.6 and there had been no mystery cases for two weeks.
« I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce that regional Victoria, from 11:59pm tomorrow [Wednesday] night, will be able to take the third step in our safe and steady road map to COVID-normal, » Mr Andrews said.
« It’s a massive thing. It is such good news. I am so, so pleased and proud of every single regional Victorian who has stayed the course, followed the rules, got tested. »
But there are still some restrictions on who you can meet and the size of the gathering — so no big parties just yet.
You can meet up to 10 people outdoors and create a household bubble with one nominated household.
Up to five people from that nominated household can then visit you at home (kids under 12 months of age are not included in the cap).
You can only choose one household to be in your bubble for as long as regional Victoria remains in the third step.
And this is where it might get awkward. It has to be « an exclusive arrangement », meaning if another household chooses you to be in their bubble, you can’t choose a different household to be in your bubble. It has to be reciprocal.
Your share house can only choose one other household to be in its bubble. Each resident cannot create their own bubble.
Cafes and restaurants can seat people in groups of up to 10, but it will be subject to density limits and seating will be mostly outdoors.
Indoor spaces will be limited to 10 patrons, subject to a density rule of 4 square metres per person.
A maximum of two separate indoor spaces will be allowed to open per venue, meaning larger venues could seat a total of 20 patrons indoors — 10 in each room.
The maximum number of patrons in an outdoor area will be 50, subject to a density rule of one person per 2 square metres.
Hairdressers, tattoo parlours and beauty services can resume as long as a face covering can be worn during the procedure.
« Every single business across regional Victoria will be required to have a COVID-safe plan and those plans will be enforced from September 28, » Mr Andrews said.
Real estate agents can conduct private inspections and hold auctions outdoors, but there will be limits on how many people can attend.
But travel to Melbourne is not allowed until both metro and regional areas are on the same restriction level.
With the weather warming up, many people are asking about campgrounds with shared bathrooms and national parks, but the Premier didn’t have a definitive answer on that at this morning’s press conference.
« I’m not sure where we’ve settled on where and when. I’ll come back to you with some rules, » he said.
Weddings will be allowed with up to 10 people. That cap includes the couple, two witnesses and a celebrant.
Funerals can be held with up to 20 people but infants and people required to conduct the funeral are not included in the limit.
There were no new cases recorded in regional Victoria yesterday, and there are now just 43 active cases.
Mr Andrews said public health teams would monitor regional Victoria closely and use the data « to inform the early steps and subsequent steps that we will take in metropolitan Melbourne ».
« And one that can strike that balance between more economic activity, more money in the till, more people back at work, but not risking having to close down again, not risking frittering away all the hard work that regional Victorians have done. »
This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.
AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
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