Fully-vaccinated Victorians are set to return to near normal life next month as all major Covid-19 restrictions are scrapped – except for two rules.
Melbourne and regional Victoria will be reunited from 6pm on Friday when the vaccination target of 80 per cent is expected to be reached – in time for the long weekend.
Victoria recorded 1,935 new Covid cases and 11 deaths on Sunday as the government announced a raft of changes to its freedom roadmap as the state smashes vaccination targets.
Premier Daniel Andrews said 91.2 per cent of Victorians have had a first dose and 73.7 per cent are fully-vaccinated, placing the state on track to reach 80 per cent double dose target by next week.
From 6pm on October 29, Victoria will move to the ’80 per cent settings’, meaning residents will be able to move freely across the state.
Hospitality, retail, health and beauty services will be open – with no capacity limit indoors and a cap of 500 outdoors – and outdoor masks will be scrapped.
Victoria recorded 1,935 new Covid cases 11 additional deaths on Sunday as the government announced a raft of oncoming changes to restrictions. Pictured: Women enjoy a drink in Melbourne on Friday after lockdown restrictions were eased
Cinemas, theatres, nightclubs and karaoke venues will also reopen to the fully vaccinated – in line with capacity limits – and public events can restart for up to 5000 people.
Mr Andrews said another round of rules will be when 90 per cent of over 12s are fully-vaccinated – forecast to be hit on 24 November.
‘We asked you to get vaccinated. You have done that in record time any record numbers and that means we have to open the place up,’ Mr Andrews said.
After almost two years of tough restrictions, the changes will include scrapping all venue capacity limits – which will mean an end to working from home.
Capacity limits for major sporting games will also be dumped, allowing up more than 80,000 fans to potentially pack into the MCG for the Boxing Day Test.
Mask will no longer need to be worn – except for high-risk indoor settings such as public transport, prisons, hospitals, and aged care.
As the state opened up, Mr Andrews said there would only be ‘two rules’ in place for Victorians through next year.
‘Some masks in some settings, principally indoors, where there is a greater risk, and the economy being open to you only if you have had to shots, only if you are fully vaccinated,’ he said.
‘They are two rules that be enduring. They are the two rules that will be with us right throughout 2022.’
Victorians will only be required to wear masks in high-risk indoor-settings from next month. Pictured: Melburnians enjoy a drink during the city’s first night out of lockdown
Meanwhile, schoolchildren who are close contacts of Covid-19 cases will be able to return to the classroom if they submit a negative a negative rapid test result under a new pilot program.
The Victorian government is trialling 15-minute antigen tests on students as part of a plan to use them across the state in a bid to cut down on the number of days children have to spend away from the classroom due to a fellow student testing positive, The Age reports.
If the trial is successful, rapid tests will be rolled out across society to combat the economic loss created by groups being locked out of work for days due to being contacts of the infected or having been at an exposure site.
The select schools participating in the trials will be responsible for collecting and managing the tests and results, rather than VIC Health, as authorities move to give organisations a bigger role in managing cases and outbreaks.
The Victorian government will scrap capacity limits for hospitality venues once 90 per cent of over 12s are fully vaccinated. Pictured: People line up outside a restaurant in Melbourne on Friday
The news comes as Melbourne enjoys its first weekend since the city’s 77-day lockdown ended.
Despite restrictions being eased, Covid cases have continued to rise – with almost 25,000 actives infections being managed across the state.
There are 787 people in hospital of which 146 are in intensive care, with 93 of those patients a ventilator.
The 11 deaths recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday bring the death toll from the current Delta outbreak to 223.
Under the government’s original roadmap, outdoor masks will be scrapped, statewide travel will return, indoor entertainment venues, gyms and retail can reopen, and capacity limits increase when the state reaches 80 per cent.
Victoria was initially forecast to reach the milestone on November 5, but analysts predict the target could be hit on October 29 or 30.
The sped-up vaccination rate has prompted Victorian authorities to green light a 5500-strong, fully vaccinated crowd for Derby Day before 10,000 arrive at Flemington for the Melbourne Cup three days later.
Victoria’s path to freedom: All the changes for the fully-vaccinated from 11.59pm on October 21
‘Because of everything Victorians have done, tomorrow we can start getting back to the things we love. Thank you Victoria – I’m so proud,’ Daniel Andrews (pictured) tweeted on Thursday
- No restrictions on leaving home and 9pm-5am curfew scrapped with Melburnians allowed to travel freely within the metropolitan region
- Travel between regional Victoria and Melbourne is still off the cards – unless for a permitted reason
Gatherings in the home and public spaces
- Up to ten visitors (including dependents) will be allowed in a home per day
- Up to 15 people can gather outdoors
Venues including hospitality, retail stores and personal services
- Hospitality venues including pubs and clubs will reopen for seated and outdoor service only, with a capacity limit of 20 fully-vaccinated patrons indoors and 50 outdoors
- General retail will reopen for outdoor service only with click and collect services to remain available
- Entertainment venues, including cinemas and physical recreation, will be reopened for 20 fully-vaccinated people indoors and 50 outdoors
- Hairdressers and beauty salons can open with a limit of five patrons
Weddings, funerals, an places of worship
- Religious gatherings, weddings, and funerals will be allowed to take place with 50 fully-vaccinated people outdoors and 20 indoors
Schools and childcare
- Students in Year 3 to Year 11 will start the staggered return to school
- Early childcare will reopen for children of fully vaccinated parents
- Masks will remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors