Victoria’s latest lockdown will end at midnight on Thursday as vaccination rates hit key benchmarks.
Melburnians, who now have the dubious honour of having endured the longest combined period of lockdowns of lockdowns in the world during the Covid-19 pandemic, will begin to return to a more normal life with the state expected to hit 90% first dose of vaccination early this week and 70% second dose a week earlier than expected.
Masks will still be required both indoors and outdoors.
From Friday, up to 10 visitors, including dependants, can visit homes in both regional and metropolitan Melbourne. The state government says it’s “highly recommended” that only people aged 12 years and over who are fully vaccinated do that.
Up to 15 fully vaccinated people can gather in public.
In metropolitan Melbourne, the curfew and the 15km travel radius will be lifted, but heading to regional Victoria from the capital will only be allowed for permitted reasons.
Metropolitan Melbourne residents should continue to work from home if they can. Anyone on the authorised workers list is required to have had at least one dose of the vaccine in order to work on site.
Childcare will be open to children whose parents or guardians are fully vaccinated. The return to school plan will also be brought forward with a staggered return of Grade 3 to Year 11 in metro Melbourne from this Friday, October 22.
The announcement comes at daily infections rates continue to stay under the 2000. Today’s announcement for the previous 24 hours saw 1838 new local coronavirus cases and seven deaths.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the early reopening on Sunday saying he “could not be more proud of our community” for getting vaccinated against Covid.
“Today is the day to congratulate and thank every single one of those five million Victorians who have at least got one dose. Of course there is more to do,” he said.
“We’ve got to get to that 70% double dose threshold, we’ve got to push beyond that and get to 80% pleasingly.
“Currently we are predicted to either tomorrow or Tuesday to pass through the 90% first dose barrier, which is a mighty effort, and something that makes us very, very proud.”
Gathering numbers rise
Religious gatherings, weddings and funerals will be able to take place with up to 50 people outdoors and 20 people indoors subject to density limits. But everyone must be fully vaccinated.
If their vaccination status is unknown, up to 10 people are permitted indoors for funerals, weddings and religious gatherings.
Most outdoor settings – outdoor cafes, cinemas, and physical recreation facilities like pools – will open with up to 50 people per venue but are subject to density limits and those numbers only apply for people who are fully vaccinated.
Indoor settings like restaurants and cafes will be able to reopen with up to 20 people indoors with density limits, and only if all attendees – including workers – are fully vaccinated. This is a higher cap than planned in the initial Roadmap and the change has been made after discussions between the sector and the public health team.
Large scale construction sites will increase to 100% capacity if all workers are fully vaccinated.
In regional Victoria, indoor settings, such as restaurants, cafes and gyms, will increase from 10 to 30 people per venue, if everyone is fully vaccinated.
Outdoor venues will increase from 20 to up to 100 people per venue, but only if everyone is fully vaccinated. If vaccination status is unknown, the venue can only have a total of 20 people.
Victoria is now predicted to hit the 80% double dose vaccination target in the first week of November.
People can book a vaccination at coronavirus.vic.gov.au/