Melbourne to leave lockdown on Friday with state set to hit vaccine milestone early

Melbourne to leave lockdown on Friday with state set to hit vaccine milestone early

High rates of vaccine take-up have put Victoria in a position to leave lockdown nearly a week earlier than expected, meaning significant restrictions are set to be eased from Friday.

More than 3.5 million Victorians are now fully vaccinated, and the state will hit its 70 per cent double dose vaccination target in the roadmap this week.

As such, from 11.59pm on Thursday 21 October, a number of restrictions will be eased.

Up to 10 people (including dependents) per day will be able to visit homes in both regional and metropolitan Melbourne. To ensure this is done safely, it’s highly recommended that Victorians only permit people aged 12 years and over who are fully vaccinated to visit them at home.

In metropolitan Melbourne, the curfew and the 15km travel radius will be lifted, however movement between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne will only be allowed for permitted reasons. This is to ensure Melburnians don’t spread the virus further into regional Victoria while the state pushes to the 80 per cent double vaccinated target.

People in metropolitan Melbourne must 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 who are already attending, as well as children whose parents or guardians are fully vaccinated. The return to school plan will also be brought forward in line with the rest of these settings, with the start of the staggered return of Grade 3 to Year 11 in metro Melbourne commencing on Friday 22 October.

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 and only if all attendees are fully vaccinated. Or, if vaccination status is unknown, 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 only for those 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.

Large scale construction sites will increase to 100 per cent capacity but only if all workers are fully vaccinated.

Masks will still be required both indoors and outdoors for all Victorians.

In regional Victoria, indoor settings – like 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.

“Victorians have sacrificed so much to protect their families, friends and the whole community from coronavirus – and have saved countless lives because of it,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“The milestone we’re about to hit marks a new and hopeful path for the whole state – allowing businesses to reopen and Victorians to get back to things they love.”

The state is expected to hit the 80 per cent double dose vaccination mark in the first week of November. Once that milestone is reached more restrictions will ease.

“The rate at which Victorians have been getting vaccinated is nothing short of incredible, but if we want to ensure our health system isn’t overwhelmed and our hospitalisation rates aren’t too high as we open up, we need to keep that momentum going. Today is the day to book that vaccine appointment,” Victorian Minister for Health Martin Foley said.

Victoria today recorded 1,903 new locally acquired cases today, while seven people with COVID-19 have died.

Updated at 9.18am AEDT on 18 October 2021.

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