With daily local case numbers now in triple digits, the Victorian Government has announced "almost all" of the current lockdown restrictions will remain in place until 70 per cent of the population has had at least one dose of the vaccine.
In mid-August the government extended lockdowns until at least 2 September, but back then the daily community infection numbers were around a sixth of the 120 recorded in the 24 hours to midnight last night.
The Premier has emphasised Victorians cannot afford to open up and let this virus run free, but he expects the first dose vaccine target will be reached around 23 September. Currently only 45 per cent of Victorians have received at least one jab.
"This is not where we wanted to be as a community, but we need to keep cases low so we can get more people vaccinated," the Premier said.
"So my message is: if you are over 18 and you want to keep you and your family safe, don’t wait. AstraZeneca is available now. Make a booking to get vaccinated."
However, there will be some small concessions with playgrounds to re-open from 11:59pm on 3 September, allowing for children with only one parent or carer. There will be QR codes for check-in, and adults should not remove their masks to eat or drink.
In-home care – like babysitters – will also be expanded to school aged children but only if both parents are authorised workers.
Epidemiological conditions and the health advice will also be reviewed to consider easing parts of regional Victoria next week.
Once the vaccine target has been hit there could be a further easing of restrictions, for example expanding the radius for exercise and shopping from 5km to 10km, a longer permissible period for exercise of up to three hours, allowing outdoor personal training with up to two people plus the trainer, and reopening communal gym equipment and skateparks.
At that point, private inspections of unoccupied premises for a new purchase or end of lease will be permitted but only one household may attend at a time, with the agent staying outdoors during the inspection.
Victoria’s construction workforce will also be able to increase to 50 per cent when 90 per cent of their workers have received at least one vaccine dose, subject to epidemiology at the time. Up to five staff will be able to work onsite at entertainment venues to broadcast performances.
"There’s a million things that we miss about life before the pandemic and a million things we’re looking forward to doing again once we’re through this outbreak – each of those is a reason to get vaccinated," Health Minister Martin Foley said.
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