After Melbourne entered winter in yet another lockdown for the COVID-hardened city, less than a month later the Victorian capital will soon have offices that are 75 per cent full, 15 people allowed to attend private gatherings, and even theatre productions like Harry Potter and Frozen getting closer to full capacity.
The city's snap lockdown was lifted on 11 June and restrictions were eased further last Friday, but as of midnight tomorrow Melburnians - and indeed all Victorians - will be one step closer to normality, at least by 2021 standards.
Quarantine-free travel has also reopened with New Zealand just as the trans-Tasman door has been temporarily closed to NSW, while states such as Queensland and Tasmania have also reopened their borders to travelling Victorians.
On the advice of the state's chief health officer, Acting Premier James Merlino has today announced a series of eased restrictions that will be in place for at least two weeks.
"Private visitors to the home will increase from two in Melbourne, and five in regional Victoria to 15 across the entire state - and up to 50 people can gather outside in a public place like a park," Merlino said.
"Masks must still be worn inside. But more people in metropolitan Melbourne can return to offices, with 75 people capacity - or 30 people in a workplace - whichever is greater," he said, in comparison to previous restrictions of 50 per cent capacity or 20 people.
Previous restrictions of up to two visitors to the home in Melbourne and five in regional Victoria will be lifted to 15 across the state, while cultural life is set to improve on several fronts.
"Players, parents and spectators can attend outdoor community sport within the total cap of 1,000 people," Merlino said.
"And live music will have greater numbers in pubs, clubs and other hospitality venues across the state too, but dance floors are still closed for now.
"Theatres will initially open at 50 per cent capacity, with up to 1,000 people. And this weekend crowds can attend public events and outdoor stadiums with a limit of 50 per cent, or up to 25,000 people."
And even bigger numbers may be allowed from 11:59pm on 1 July, subject to epidemiology and the advice of the chief health officer.
"That means 100 per cent capacity at shows like Frozen at Her Majesty's Theatre, and Harry Potter at the Princess Theatre," Merlino said.
"And indoor and outdoor stadiums will be able to increase to 85 per cent capacity so that includes the MCG, Marvel Stadium, and AAMI Park.
"For the next week, we're recommending that those travelling to Victoria's alpine region get tested prior departing metropolitan Melbourne, especially if they're staying overnight.
"And everywhere you go, remember to check in using the Service Victoria QR code, this is the seat belt we need as we open up the state."
Updated 12:37pm AEST on 23 June 2021.
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