Virus rules will ease further in Victoria as the state posted another day without local infections.
Acting Premier James Merlino described the new rules – which will come into effect at 11.59pm on Thursday – as “big steps forward”.
“We all want to be back at birthday parties, barbecues at home, to see friends, to explore the coast at the regions and take the kids on a trip somewhere,” he said.
“While 2021 has been very hard to plan ahead and know exactly what tomorrow will bring, we didn’t want to provide as much certainty as we can today for the easing of restrictions.”
The new settings will remain in place until July 1, and will apply across the state.
- Public gatherings of up to 50 people;
- People can have up to 15 people in their homes per day;
- Work from home recommendations removed, caps raised;
- Wedding caps raised to 300;
- Recreational sport – 300 people indoors, 1000 outdoors;
- Seated venues – maximum 300 indoors, 1000 outdoors
- Mask rules don’t change; masks remain mandatory everywhere indoors (outside the home) and where people cannot socially distance.
Mr Merlino also flagged a return to crowds at major sporting events. Stadiums will be allowed 50 per cent capacity.
“[That] means that the A-League grand final can proceed with 15,000 people and the MCG can host 25,000 people. Indoor stadiums, like John Cain Arena, can have 50 per cent of the venue capacity, up to 5000. It’s been welcomed by the NBL and the A-League,” he said.
Theatres will also be allowed 50 per cent capacity, up to 1000 people.
Stadiums will increase to 85 per cent in the next rule change from July 1, and theatres to 100 per cent.
“This will take us back to the settings that we had before this outbreak started and I know people will be keen to get back to the footy, to watch the NBL and A-League finals or go to Harry Potter or Frozen or any of other great events that will be happening right across the state,” Mr Merlino said.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton urged Victorians to keep checking in everywhere they went. Anyone travelling to alpine resorts is also urged to get a COVID test before they go – although the mandatory requirement will be dropped at the end of this week.
“We’re in a much more stable position with our outbreaks allowing us to take another cautious step open,” he said.
“But I stress that it’s not a signal that it’s all behind us – there are continuing challenges through this winter and this week.”
Professor Sutton said most of Victoria’s recent outbreaks – in the City of Whittlesea, Port Melbourne and West Melbourne – were reaching their final clearance stages. The outbreak at Arcare Maidstone, the aged-care facility in Melbourne’s inner-north-west, has officially been declared over.
Wednesday was Victoria’s seventh consecutive day with one or zero local cases. The state has 50 active coronavirus infections.
In further good news, no exposure sites have been added for the state in the past week.