Australian state easing pandemic restrictions

Clay Curtis
September 18, 2020

Regional Victoria will take the "Third Step" out of coronavirus restrictions from 11.59pm tomorrow night, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced, indicating a welcome reprieve for communities outside of Melbourne.

Victoria officials declared a state of disaster in early August, with tighter restrictions on Melbourne residents. Indoors, venues can open with a cap of 10 seated customers per space - with up to two spaces per venue - and in line with the existing "four square metre" density rule.

Mitchell Shire Council's playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment reopened, along with its resource recovery centres, while skate parks, basketball courts and public barbeques remain closed.

"We need that time for the [policy] settings that we have, but I am very confident we will be in the 30-to-50 range for average daily cases", he said yesterday.

Real estate agents can resume auctions outdoors subject to gathering restrictions and hold private inspections by appointment.

Regional Victoria's new case average also fell again to 3.5.

"I hope that people in Melbourne are looking to what is occurring in regional Victoria as proof-positive - not a model, not a theory, but the actual delivery of this plan", Mr Andrews said.

Restrictions in Melbourne were eased slightly on Monday, with the curfew reduced to 9pm to 5am, the allowed exercise time doubled to two hours and the introduction of "household bubbles" for people who live alone.

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The Australian state of Victoria will lift some of its coronavirus pandemic restrictions after a surge in cases led to a renewed clampdown.

There are now 1157 active cases of coronavirus in Victoria, including 176 health care workers.

All residents can now have visitors in their home but only from one other household.

Ms Maxwell said she was concerned at the lack of checks on passengers to ensure they are travelling for valid reasons only during Melbourne's Stage 4 lockdown.

"We've been closed for almost 20 weeks so by the time we open, I think we've gone through more than five months of closures", she said.

About 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on their size.

"It is something we should all be very pleased and proud of the job that regional Victorians have done", he said.

Hospitality businesses will also receive support with a dedicated $251 million Licenced Venue Fund and the waiver of liquor licence fees in 2021. "You can not be travelling to regional Victoria unless you absolutely need to", he said.

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