Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has announced the next tranche of easing of COVID-19 related restrictions for regional Victoria, but has stopped short of foreshadowing further progress for metropolitan Melbourne, given concerns relating to the Northern metropolitan virus outbreak.
Mr Andrews indicated a need to better understand the ‘science behind the data,’ relating to up to 2,000 tests in labs awaiting assessment. He asserted that only then would he be in a position to announce the next “cautious phase” of easing of restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne, reflecting that further announcements are likely by the 27 October. The Premier reflecting that a ‘best case’ scenario would be to see linkages between current virus cases, which would provide sufficient confidence outbreaks could be contained and industries could be reopened.
From 11.59pm on Tuesday 27 October, easing of restrictions in regional Victoria will enable the following lifestyle changes:
- Indoor gyms open – up to 20 pax able to attend, 10 pax per space, with a maximum of one person per eight square metres.
- Indoor pools – open for all ages, for a maximum of 20 pax.
- Religious gatherings allowed – 20 pax indoors, 50 pax outdoors.
- Funerals – 50 pax outdoors.
- Non-contact outdoor sport is able to recommence.
Given the success in managing the Shepparton outbreak, from 11.59pm Sunday 25 October, Shepparton will join the rest of regional Victoria, on the same level of trading restrictions, enabling hospitality venues to then welcome 40 pax indoors, subject to density and social distancing requirements.
Mr Andrews’ assessments come as 100 virus cases remain active across Victoria, with seven new cases today (six from the Northern metropolitan outbreak). Rolling 14-day case averages reflect 4.6 cases for metropolitan Melbourne and 0.2 cases for regional Victoria – with nine mystery cases, all in Metropolitan Melbourne.
Premier Andrews acknowledged that Victorian’s would likely feel legitimate frustration, given this further delay, but asserted, waiting a further 24-48 hours to determine ‘next steps’ for metropolitan Melbourne is “cautious, safe and steady – the only way to go.”