With the exception of Greater Shepparton, lockdown in regional Victoria will lift from 11.59 pm tomorrow, with low case numbers giving the State’s health officials the confidence to ease restrictions.
It comes as the state recorded 221 locally acquired COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total number of active cases in Victoria to 1,920.
As part of the easing of restrictions in regional Victoria, the five reasons to leave the home will be removed, and there will be no limit on the distance residents can travel from home - other than restrictions on entry to metropolitan Melbourne.
Metropolitan Melbourne and Shepparton will remain under strict lockdown restrictions as serious outbreaks of COVID-19 are ongoing.
Regional Victorians will return to the rule ‘if you can work from home, you should work from home’ but office workers will be able to return up to 25 per cent or up to 10 people, whichever is greater.
Regional schools will reopen for onsite learning for Prep to Grade 2 and Year 12 students who live in regional Victoria, while remote learning will remain for all other levels.
Funerals will be permitted for up to 20 people and weddings will be permitted for up to 10 people, plus those required to conduct the service. Stricter limits will be in place for both weddings and funerals with people from Melbourne in attendance.
Restaurants and cafes can reopen for seated service with patron caps.
Retail, hairdressing, entertainment venues and community facilities will also open in line with density limits and patron caps.
Masks will continue to be required indoors and outdoors, apart from private residences, unless an exception applies.
“While this is fantastic news for most of regional Victoria, we’re encouraging everyone in these areas to keep up all the COVIDSafe practices and most importantly, keep coming forward to get vaccinated,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“We thank every member of the Shepparton community who has worked so hard to bring the outbreak there under control.
“If everyone keeps getting tested and supporting their friends and family to isolate when needed, then we hope Shepparton will soon be able to join the rest of regional Victoria in easing restrictions.”
The Premier also reiterated that Greater Melbourne will need to hit the 70 per cent fully-vaccinated benchmark before restrictions in the capital can be eased.
Home quarantine trial to commence in Victoria
The Premier also announced today Victoria will begin trialling home-based quarantine for residents who have been stuck on the New South Wales side of the border to return home.
200 residents who have been residing in a NSW Local Government Border Area for at least 14 days from Wednesday, 25 August to Wednesday, 8 September will be able to apply for a new permit exemption category to come home.
Applications for exemptions will be open for seven days from midday on Friday 10 September, closing at 6.00 pm on Friday 17 September 2021.
“With the situation in New South Wales still so serious, we want to ensure all Victorians on the border are able to return home to their families – this home quarantine pilot scheme will allow them to do that safely, while still protecting the community,” Victorian Minister for Health Martin Foley said.
“We recognise these are strict quarantine requirements but while Victorians are doing the hard yards staying at home to keep case numbers down, we can’t risk bringing additional cases in from interstate.”
Updated at 12.13pm AEST on 8 September 2021.
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