Regional Victoria will move to Stage 3 of its coronavirus reopening plan from Thursday, meaning sitting in a restaurant, meeting up to 10 people outdoors, kids sport and travelling for a holiday will all be allowed.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the changes were possible because the daily average for new cases in regional Victoria was down to 3.6 and there had been no mystery cases for two weeks.
“I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce that regional Victoria, from 11.59pm tomorrow (Wednesday) night, will be able to take the third step in our safe and steady road map to COVID-normal,” Mr Andrews said.
“It’s a massive thing. It is such good news. I am so, so pleased and proud of every single regional Victorian who has stayed the course, followed the rules, got tested.”
Here’s what’s changing from 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Leaving home and socialising
There will no longer be any restrictions on the reasons to leave home.
You can go out as often as you want.
But there are still some restrictions on who you can meet and the size of the gathering, so no big parties just yet.
You can meet up to 10 people outdoors and create a household bubble with one nominated household.
Up to five people from that nominated household can then visit you at home (kids under 12 months of age are not included in the cap).
You can only choose one household to be in your bubble for as long as regional Victoria remains in the third step.
And this is where it might get awkward.
It has to be “an exclusive arrangement”, meaning if another household chooses you to be in their bubble, you can’t choose a different household to be in your bubble. It has to be reciprocal.
It’s even more complicated for share houses.
Your share house can only choose one other household to be in its bubble. Each resident cannot create their own bubble.
Cafes and restaurants
Hospitality will be able to offer table service again.
Cafes and restaurants can seat people in groups of up to 10, but it will be subject to density limits and seating will be mostly outdoors.
Retail, real estate and beauty services
All shops can open.
Hairdressers and beauty services can resume as long as a face covering can be worn during the procedure.
Real estate agents can conduct private inspections and hold auctions outdoors, but there will be limits on how many people can attend.
Travelling around Victoria
People in regional Victoria will be able to travel to other regions and book accommodation.
But travel to Melbourne is not allowed until metro and regional areas are on the same restriction level.
Weddings and funerals
Weddings will be allowed with up to 10 people. That cap includes the couple, two witnesses and a celebrant.
Funerals can be held with up to 20 people, but infants and people required to conduct the funeral are not included in the limit.
Sport and exercise
Outdoor skateparks will reopen.
Bootcamps and other outdoor fitness groups can be held with up to 10 people.
Outdoor junior sport is also allowed, for contact and non-contact sports.
But for adults, only non-contact outdoor sport is allowed. Gathering and density limits will apply.