Covid restrictions eased

Bare streets will have life in them again as metropolitan Melbourne gets an easing of Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS. 239808_19

By Mikayla van Loon

Metropolitan Melbourne’s Covid-19 restrictions will ease slightly as of 11.59pm on Thursday 10 June, meaning the five reasons to leave home will be removed but some restrictions will stay.

Acting Premier James Merlino announced that the 10km radius limit on travel will be increased to 25km but metropolitan residents will be unable to travel into regional Victoria.

“But wherever possible, we’re asking people to stay local. That means the only reasons to go further than 25 km will be work, education, care and caregiving, and getting vaccinated,” Mr Merlino said.

“And travel into regional Victoria to visit family and friends or take a holiday still remains a no go – for now.”

Visitors to the home are still not allowed but outdoor gatherings can occur with a cap of ten people.

Masks won’t need to be worn outside unless social distancing of 1.5 metres cannot happen but masks will remain a requirement indoors, including in supermarkets, shopping centres and other venues.

Face-to-face learning will resume on Friday 11 June for all year levels.

Cafes, pubs and restaurants will be able to open with strict density limits, seated service and QR code registration for all patrons.

Remaining retail stores will also be able to open, along with hairdressing, beauty and personal care but only for services where masks can be left on.

Businesses can return to 25 per cent capacity or ten people in an office, depending on which is the larger of the two.

“When it comes to work, there’ll no longer be a list – but if you can work from home, you should,” Mr Merlino said.

For businesses that will have to remain closed even with eased restrictions, a further $2000 will be available under the Business Costs Assistance Program.

Metropolitan businesses like gyms, yoga studios and dance schools will be eligible for the payment, bringing the total amount of support money to $7000, with the previous $5000 given at the beginning of the two week lockdown.

“Victorians have banded together and now we can relax many restrictions in a safe way, backed by the best public health advice,” Victorian treasurer Tim Pallas said.

“This top-up payment will support businesses who will still be affected in the coming week, so they can be in the best position to recover once their doors reopen.”

Religious gatherings and funerals will be capped at 50 people, while weddings can have ten people attend.

Swimming pools, entertainment venues and community facilities will also open subject to density limits.

And community sport can happen, but only for training.

Regional Victoria will see a number of restrictions further eased like two visitors allowed to the home, increases to capacity limits at venues, indoor sport and gyms allowed to reopen and 20 people at outdoor gatherings.

The acting premier said he hopes to announce further easing of restrictions next Thursday 17 June, to bring metropolitan Melbourne in line with regional Victoria and increase capacity limits across the board.

Mr Merlino encouraged people to get vaccinated if eligible and to keep getting tested if they have any symptoms of Covid-19.

“Today is a good day, there’s no doubt about it. And we should absolutely be proud of what we’ve all achieved – but let me just say this, it isn’t over yet, and until we have widespread vaccination, this virus will still be with us,” he said.

“We all know how fragile this thing is. We’ve seen how easily it can take hold. And if we allow complacency to creep back even a little, we could lose everything we’ve worked so hard to protect.

“There’s still work to do, there’s still our state to keep safe. And we’ll need every Victorian to help do just that.”