Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino has announced Melbourne's lockdown will end on 11:59pm tomorrow night, but masks will still be mandatory indoors and authorities are also planning to make QR codes required in all workplaces.
"This is a good day. Everyone should be absolutely proud of what we've all achieved together, but we know that this isn't over yet," Merlino said after just one new locally acquired case was reported today.
This takes the total number of cases linked to the latest outbreak to 68, with the Acting Premier encouraged by the fact 28,000 Victorians got tested for COVID-19 yesterday.
"Thanks to these very high testing numbers our public health team are getting a better sense of these outbreaks that are moving through our community," he said.
On the advice of Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, the State Government will remove the five-reasons-to-leave home rule from tomorrow night and extend the 10km travel limit to 25km.
"That means the only reasons to go further than 25 kilometers will be for work, education, caregiving or getting a vaccination," he said.
"Travel into regional Victoria still remains a no-go for now," he clarified, noting that if all goes to plan the division between the capital and the rest of the state would be lifted at 11:59pm next Thursday, 17 June.
Merlino noted people would be able to return to offices in Melbourne at a 25 per cent or a cap of 10, whichever is greater, although the government was still asking people to work from home where possible.
Restaurants and cafes can reopen for seated service with up to 100 people per venue with a maximum of 50 inside, while retail can reopen in line with density limits of one person per four square metres.
Hair and beauty therapy can also resume for treatments where masks can be worn, schools will resume face-to-face learning on Friday, and masks will no longer be required outdoors unless you cannot maintain a 1.5-metre distance.
Some businesses such as gyms, amusement parks, dance studios and nightclubs will need to remain closed for a little while longer. In an attempt to alleviate the impacts, the Acting Premier has announced a further $8.36 million to provide an additional $2,000 grant to support thousands of businesses that are eligible for the Business Cost Assistance Program that remain closed under the restrictions announced today.
Unless there is an exemption by the Federal Government or Australia's Chief Medical Officer maintains the declaration of Melbourne as a hotspot, workers in the aforementioned industries would be unlikely to have access to the COVID-19 disaster payment as outlined by the Prime Minister last week.
"Another thing I want to put on people's radar is in regards to QR codes. On the advice of the Chief Health Officer we will be moving to make QR check-ins compulsory for all workplaces with very limited exemptions," Merlino said.
"Previously it's only been mandatory for customer-facing businesses, but through this outbreak we have seen a number of cases occur in office settings, so we want to take the next step on this.
"We will be looking to consult with industry over the next few days around implementation, and we'll finalise the details next week ahead of the requirements coming into effect."
New settings for regional Victoria
Regional Victoria's already relaxed settings will also improve from 11:59pm tomorrow, with visitors allowed at the home at a maximum of two people and their dependants per day, and gatherings of up to 20 will be allowed in contrast to the limit of 10 for Greater Melbourne.
Restaurants and cafes in regional Victoria will be able to have a maximum of 150 people per venue with seated service, and no more than 75 allowed outdoors. Offices will remain capped at 50 per cent and community sport will be back for all ages both for training and competition.
"Finally, regional Victorians will still be able to travel around regional Victoria, Melburnians will not," Merlino said.
Updated at 12:06pm AEST on 9 July 2021.
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support