Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the roadmap for easing restrictions in Victoria once crucial vaccination targets have been reached.
Hours after the state announced another 507 locally acquired cases and the death of a man in his 90s, Mr Andrews confirmed that Victoria’s lockdown would effectively end once 70 per cent of people over 16 have been vaccinated.
The Premier on Sunday also said Victorians could look forward to welcoming up to 30 people to their homes for Christmas.
“We cannot perennially or permanently suppress this virus. Lockdowns have been about buying time to get to 70 and 80 per cent vaccination,” Mr Andrews said.
“We are fast approaching those milestones. And at that point we have got to open the place up, because remaining closed forever has its own cost in every sense of that word,” he added.
“This is a very difficult balancing act.”
Mr Andrews said the Burnet Institute modelling – used to inform the state’s decision-making – made for “sobering reading”, suggesting that hospital admissions would peak at about 3150 towards the end of December and deaths due to COVID-19 would peak at about 2200 in January.
Once 80 per cent has received at least one dose
Government forecast: September 26, 2021
- Melburnians can play sport and engage in “other outdoor recreation activities” together – with the same limit as picnics (up to five fully vaccinated people across two households).
- Personal training for Melburnians will also resume for up to five fully vaccinated people outside.
- Melburnians will be able to travel 15km from their homes.
- Regional Victorians, who are already out of lockdown, will get extra freedoms. These include mask-free visits to hairdressers and other beauty services, and final years VCAL students returning to on-site learning.
Return to school
Government forecast: October 5, 2021
- Metropolitan Melbourne: Students can return to sit the GAT if required on October 5.
- From October 6, onsite learning resumes for VCE Units 3/4 and final year VCAL and IB students.
- From October 18, prep students return three days a week, while years 1 & 2 students return two days a week.
- Regional Victoria: Further advice on the return to onsite learning for remaining year levels will be provided by September 30.
Once 70 per cent of over-16s are fully vaccinated
Government forecast: October 26, 2021
- Metropolitan Melbourne: The lockdown will effectively end.
- There will be no restrictions on leaving your home.
- The curfew will end.
- Ten fully vaccinated people can gather outdoors, and community sport training will return for the minimum required to hold training.
- Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can open to 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors.
- Weddings and funerals can open for 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors.
- All school students return onsite at least part time.
- Hairdressing and personal care can open for up to five fully vaccinated people.
Regional Victoria: More social and recreation activities will open up for fully vaccinated Victorians.
- Community sport will return indoors for minimum number required.
- Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can open indoors to 30 fully vaccinated people.
- All school students will return onsite at least part time.
- Funerals and weddings are allowed for 30 fully vaccinated people indoors and 100 fully vaccinated outdoors.
Once 80 per cent of over-16s are fully vaccinated
Government forecast: November 5, 2021
At this stage, the rule changes will be the same across Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria.
- Up to 10 people (including dependents) are permitted at your home.
- Up to 150 fully vaccinated people can dine indoors, and up to 30 can gather in public outside.
- Indoor community sport can open for the minimum number required.
- Masks are only required inside.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes can open for seated service only – for up to 150 fully vaccinated people inside and 500 outdoors.
- Employees will be advised to work from home if they can – but the fully vaccinated can go to work.
- Hairdressing, beauty and personal care will be open for fully vaccinated people.
- All retail can reopen.
- Early childhood education and care services can open.
- All students can return to school with additional safety measures in place.
- Onsite adult education will return for fully vaccinated Australians.
- Weddings, funerals, and religious services can return for 150 fully vaccinated people indoors and 500 outdoors.
Once 80 per cent of over-12s are fully vaccinated
- By Christmas, you can have visitors to your home.
Based on the current seven-day average for second dose vaccinations, Victoria is on course to hit the 70 per cent target by November 19 and the 80 per cent target by December 12, according to the COVIDLive online tracker.
The state could feasibly reach those milestones sooner if the vaccination rollout picks up speed, but a slowing down in the rollout could also push back the timeline.
Prior to Sunday’s announcement, Premier Andrews told Victorians to expect “cautious” initial changes to the state’s COVID response once more than 70 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 are fully vaccinated.
Among the expected rule changes were an end to the 9pm curfew, an extension of the travel limits to up to 25 kilometres and the reopening of some hospitality venues with tight caps or limits to outdoor service only.
Since Friday, fully vaccinated Victorians have been able to go for a picnic with up to five people from two different households. That rule change was triggered by the achievement of a 70 per cent single-dose rate.
Sunday’s announcement came after at least 235 protesters were arrested on Saturday for their role in violent anti-lockdown protests in inner-city Melbourne.