Premier Daniel Andrews has announced Victoria’s five-day lockdown will end as planned at 11:59pm tonight, February 17.
Andrews says the snap lockdown, which was instigated as a “circuit breaker” to prevent a potential third wave of the virus has worked.
The news comes as the state records no new local transmissions and zero new cases in hotel quarantine.
Restrictions to ease from midnight
The 5km rule and the four reasons to leave home (essential shopping, exercise, to seek care or provide care and to go to work) will be scrapped and free movement resumed. There will however still be some restrictions around visits to aged care facilities and masks will remain mandatory outside of the home.
Andrews congratulated Victorians for their sacrifices and efforts in “driving the virus into the ground”.
“It hasn’t been easy or straightforward,” Daniels said.
“In fact, for those Victorians who are part of our health response, it’s been bloody hard work. 3,400 close contacts identified and isolated.”
During the five-day lockdown, health authorities processed more than 212,000 tests, conducted hundreds of hours of interview and sent out over 850,000 text alerts to communities.
“[It’s] an exacting, intricate and exhausting job against a more wicked enemy than we’ve known before. I want to thank those Victorians who’ve made it possible – and I want to thank every Victorian for their patience.”
There’ll no longer be four reasons to leave home
The five-kilometre restriction will no longer apply. Restaurants and retail can reopen. As can community facilities, entertainment venues and all other public places – although the premier said there will be some additional limits on crowd sizes put into place.
“Students will be able to head back to school. Workers will be able to get back to work. For offices – both public and private – that means a return to 50% on site,” Andrews said.
No more than five visitors at home
The premier said the virus is still great at finding our weak spots, and that usually means when people are relaxed and comfortable at home or when gathering with family and friends. As such limits would be put in place for home visits and gatherings.
“For this reason, people will be limited to a maximum of five visitors to their homes,” he said
That means having no more than five visitors to your home per day. And limiting public gatherings with friends and family to 20.
The premier acknowledged this may be a hard pill to swallow but said by sticking to the rules we would keep our family and friends safe.
“I know that’ll be hard. After the past 12 months, all any of us want to do is spend time with the people we love.”
Masks to remain mandatory
“We can’t fully relax the rules in our hospitals and aged care homes yet either – instead, we’ll limit visits limit to one household per day and some specific exceptions. Masks will continue to be a big part of our defence and will be required everywhere indoors except at home – at the supermarket, at the office, at the pub when you’re getting up to pay,” Andrews said.
Masks will also be required outside if you can’t physically distance from others.