“We have defeated the second wave but it’s not over, ” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said at conclusion of his presser conference today, Sunday, after announcing a significant easing of restrictions, and outlining next steps for 13 December.
Under new rules taking effect from 11.59pm, the mandatory face mask requirement will be scrapped for outdoor settings, provided that physical distancing can be maintained.
Victorians will still be required to wear face masks indoors (including in public transport), and also carry them when venturing outdoors ready to put them on when finding themselves in crowds.
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Mask wearing will still apply when visiting a store, though not while you are in the car park space.
“But if you are queueing up for a sausage, and you are with other people, and you are simply not keeping a distance — you are part of a crowd, you need to put the mask on,” Mr Andrews said.
Relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions from midnight tonight includes:
- Up to 300 patrons allowed in large hospitality venues, with a maximum of 100 indoors and subject to the four square metre rule
- Smaller venues allowed to host up to 50 people indoors but the one person per two square metres applies for them
- Attendance at religious ceremonies capped at 150 people indoors and 300 outdoors
- Weddings and funerals however are allowed a maximum of 150, regardless of indoors or outdoors setting, (for at home ceremonies the 15 people limit applies)
- Increased numbers of up to 150 people in groups of 20, allowed in gyms
- Cinemas and galleries allowed to operate with up to 150 people per space, with no patron caps for drive-in cinemas
- Higher education returns to on-campus learning for some studies, under COVID-safe processes
- Increase of gathering limit outdoors to 50 people
- Home visits allowed with up to 15 visitors (including dependants) throughout a day
On the latter, the Premier addressed a cautious note to the public.
“Again, that isn’t 15 for lunch and 15 for dinner, that is 15 across the course of the day.
“What we have seen in Adelaide, what we have seen all over the world, and certainly here some months ago, is that gatherings in the family home can be the most dangerous.”
Meanwhile, as of this coming Monday, 30 November, 25% of the workforce in private firms will be able to return to the office, but work from home arrangements will remain for public services.
The next step of coronavirus restrictions’ easing is expected to be discussed on 6 December, with Premier Andrews preparing Victorians for good news ahead of the festive period celebrations and gatherings.
From 11.59pm Sunday 13 December, an increased cap of 30 visitors will be allowed at home across the course of a day.
Dependants are included in the limit, except infants under 12 months of age.
“I know that will be a large enough number for some families, and for others they will need to do some juggling,” Mr Andrews said.
“But from December 13, that is very important, for a number of different multi-faith communities[…]
“It is a testament to the amazing job that Victorians have done and continue to do.”