Daniel Andrews finally eases Melbourne's lockdown

Daniel Andrews finally eases Melbourne's lockdown

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced the relaxed lockdown rules this morning (Sunday) , after authorities confirmed the state had two new cases of coronavirus and no further deaths.

For the first time in more than 3 months,  Melbourne residents will be able to leave their homes for more than two hours.

From Monday, social and recreational restrictions will be eased in Melbourne, and regional Victoria will also see some rules relaxed earlier than scheduled. However Masks will remain mandatory.

Melbourne's travel radius will be expanded to 25 kilometres and people will be able to leave their homes for as long as they like, under a relaxed set of coronavirus restrictions that will kick in from midnight.

But Melbourne businesses must wait longer for eased restrictions, with Mr Andrews confirming that retail, hospitality and 'personal care' services will stay shut until November 1. 

 ‘Yes, these lockdowns have come with pain and damage and hurt but the strategy is working and will continue to work,” Mr Andrews said on Sunday

Retail stores will reopen from November 1, while hospitality venues will be allowed to have 20 people inside and 50 outside depending on the size of their space. Residents will also be allowed to have up to two people and their children visit their homes.

The changes to take effect on Monday include:

* 5km travel restriction extended to 25km

* Outdoor gatherings up from five to 10

* Face-to-face allied health appointments to resume

* Tennis courts, golf courses and skate parks will reopen

* Outdoor swimming pools open to a maximum of 30 swimmers

* Hairdressers can reopen

* Outdoor real estate auctions permitted with up to 10 people, plus staff

* Two-hour outdoor time limit scrapped

Mr Andrews reiterated that Victorians would not be allowed to gather and celebrate the upcoming AFL Grand Final next weekend. 

'You cannot have friends over into your home. You cannot pretend that it is over because we all desperately want it to be,' he said.

'I know that many people would normally spend time with family and friends to celebrate that day ... it is a big part of who we are.'

Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said many businesses could not afford to keep their doors closed for another fortnight while the Premier "chases an unattainable target".

"Other states have proven that you can stay open with COVID and do it safely," he said.

"South Australia had more cases on Saturday than Victoria did, yet 24,000 people went to the footy on Friday night.

"New South Wales had more cases on Saturday than Victoria did, yet their pubs and their bars and their shops remained open.

"Daniel Andrews is pursuing an elimination strategy when we need to have a suppression strategy that lets us live safely with COVID."

Another round of significant changes in Melbourne has also been scheduled for November 2, including lifting stay-at-home orders and allowing hospitality venues to seat patrons again.