Victoria will take the first step in its road out of coronavirus lockdown today as Melbourne’s tough Stage Four restrictions slightly ease.
Few changes are being made, but a small amount of extra social interaction will be allowed along with more time outside – bringing some relief to a city that has been under tough Stage Four lockdown since Sunday, August 2.
Under the new rules, two people or a household can meet outdoors to exercise or socialise for two hours, instead of just one hour – but they must still remain within 5km of their home.
Pictured: two women walking at Albert Park Lake on Wednesday. Melbourne residents who live alone will be able to designate one person to be their ‘single social bubble’ friend to meet
The 14-day rolling average of new daily cases has been falling rapidly to reach 56.9 on Sunday. Step Two easings will be triggered when new daily cases hit between 30 and 50 per day for 14 days, the Victorian Government says on it’s website.
The outdoors time can only be split into a maximum of two sessions.
People living alone and single parents will now be able to designate one friend to visit, who can also visit them in what has been termed a ‘single social bubble’.
If the person you choose lives with other people, then you can only visit them when they are alone.
Pictured: a usually busy Hosier Lane is seen completely empty on Thursday night in Melbourne’s CBD. Melbourne’s Stage Four lockdown is the strictest in the nation
The 5km limit does not apply to the single social bubble however those in Metropolitan Melbourne cannot nominate someone living in regional Victoria, which is under Stage Three restrictions.
No permit or proof is required for the single social bubble, the Victorian Government is relying on a trust system, asking people to do the right thing so the state can crush the virus and return to normal as soon as possible.
STEP ONE CHANGES
Few changes are being made, but Melbourne’s tough Stage Four lockdown is easing slightly
– Two people or a household can meet outdoors for two hours instead of just one hour
– Outdoors time can be spent socialising or exercising in a maximum of two split sessions within 5km of home
– People living alone and single parents can have one designated friend to visit and spend time with in a ‘single social bubble’
– People living in metropolitan Melbourne cannot choose someone living in regional Victoria for their bubble
– Melbourne’s curfew has been reduced by an hour to 9pm to 5am
Melbourne’s curfew remains but has been reduced by an hour, starting from 9pm to 5am instead of from 8pm.
Outdoor playgrounds will also open and physical distancing limits will apply, however skate parks and sporting facilities remain closed.
Other than these changes, the existing Stage Four restrictions apply in Melbourne and Stage Three in regional Victoria.
Progress to more relaxation under Step Two will depend on improvement in the 14-day rolling average of new case numbers.
Step Two will be triggered when new daily cases hit between 30 and 50 per day for 14 days, the Victorian Government says on it’s website.
The Victorian Government is aiming at September 28 as the date for Step Two which will allow more than 100,000 workers to go back to work in construction, manufacturing, and maintenance workers.
The rolling average has been falling dramatically reaching 56.9 on Sunday from 120.8 two weeks previously.
Victoria recorded 41 new coronavirus cases on Sunday bringing the state’s total to 19,835 with 723 deaths, the DHHS said in an emailed release.
There are 1,157 active cases of which 116 are in hospital and 11 in intensive care.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the number of ‘mystery’ cases, where the source of community transmission cannot be traced, had fallen by 11 since yesterday, however he has extended the State of Emergency and the State of Disaster for another four weeks.
Victoria’s State of Disaster came into operation on Sunday, August 2, alongside the Stage Four restrictions.
The State of Emergency was already in force at the time, and the two declarations have operated together.
The State of Emergency is what allows the Victorian government to make emergency coronavirus rules such as making face masks mandatory, introducing covid-safe work plans and requiring people to isolate in quarantine.
Pictured: people exercising at Albert Park Lake, Melbourne, on Friday. Step One easing means outdoors time has been increased from one hour to two hours daily
The State of Disaster gives the police special powers to enforce them.
Mr Andrews said the two declarations underpin the emergency coronavirus rules.
‘It underpins taking those safe and steady steps,’ he told reporters on Sunday.
The State of Emergency and State of Disaster are now scheduled to end just before midnight on October 11.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: The first step came into effect at 11.59pm on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:
– Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records