Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed regional Victoria would move to Step 3 of the roadmap to 'COVID Normal' from 11.59pm on Wednesday, September 16.
The news comes as regional Victoria's 14-day rolling average of case numbers dropped to 3.6 with no new cases in recorded in the past 24 hours. (SW STATS)
Step 3 of the regional Victoria's pathway to 'COVID Normal' allows for more social interactions and businesses to open more freely.
From 11.59pm tonight there will be no restrictions on leaving your home. The reasons to travel in and out of Metropolitan Melbourne remain the same but travel across regional Victoria is now allowed with accommodation services open with social bubble caps.
The key changes include:
- No restrictions on reasons to leave home
- Gatherings of up to 10 people outdoors allowed
- You can have five visitors to your home, although they must from the one household that has been selected as your 'household bubble'. Your 'household bubble' cannot change. Infants under 12 months are not included in this figure.
- Outdoor hospitality venues (and some indoor) will be able to open with strict limits on social distancing (see below for more info)
- Accommodation venues to open, but with household bubble restrictions
- Travel within Victoria allowed across all areas in the 'third step'
- Schools return to onsite learning from Term 4 with safety measures
- Weddings: allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).
- Funerals: allowed with up to 20 people (not including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral).
- Religion: outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed, facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader
- Real estate: private inspections by appointment only, auctions outdoors subject to gathering limits.
- Exercise: Outdoor contact and non-contact sport for under-18, outdoor non-contact sport only for adults, with gathering and density limits, outdoor skateparks open, outdoor fitness for 10 people.
Mr Andrews also made somewhat of a surprise announcement by allowing some indoor dining, with extremely tight restrictions.
Indoor venues can open with 10 seated patrons per space subject to 'one person per four square metres' rule, with a maximum two spaces per venue. For larger venues, that's a maximum of 20 people inside.
There will be a cap of 50 people in outside venues, subject to 'one person per two square metres' rule.
Tables must be 1.5m apart and a two-hour time limit will be in place.
Venues with both inside and outside seating can potentially allow 70 patrons at one time.
Mr Andrews said he would make further announcements about enforcing the rules to protect the regions on Wednesday.
The DHHS COVIDSafe principles still apply; wear a mask or face covering when outside your house, do not go to work if you are sick or unwell and keep a physical distance of 1.5 metres.
Other principles include coughing and sneezing into a tissue or elbow, having good hand hygiene and remaining to outdoor activities.
Subject to public health advice, if there are zero new cases statewide for 14 days, Victoria can move to the final step on November 23.
Statewide, Mr Andrews confirmed there was zero deaths linked to coronavirus overnight, the first time since July 13 the death toll hasn't risen in a 24 hour period.
There has been 729 deaths recorded in Victoria since the beginning of the pandemic.
There were 42 new cases of coronavirus recorded in the past 24 hours with the state's total number of active cases to 1,040.