Lockdown to ease in regional Victoria

Premier Daniel Andrews. (Louisa Jones) 243047_06

By Luke Voogt

Lockdown is set to lift in Geelong and regional Victoria at midnight tomorrow, following an announcement from state government today.

Premier Daniel Andrews today announced that the five reasons to leave home and travel limits would cease to apply in regional Victoria, except greater Shepparton, beginning 11.59pm tomorrow night.

Regional Victorians must still have a valid reason to travel to Melbourne or greater Shepparton.

Under the changes restaurants, cafes retail, hairdressing, entertainment venues and community facilities will reopen in line with density limits and patron caps.

Businesses reopening must check the IDs of all costumers to prevent COVID-19 spreading from Melbourne to regional Victoria.

Offices can return to up to 25 per cent capacity or 10 people, whichever is greater.

Funerals will be permitted for up to 20 people and weddings up to 10 people, plus those required to conduct the service, with stricter limits for ceremonies with Melburnians attending.

Schools will reopen for prep to grade 2 students and year 12 students, with remote learning to continue for all other year levels.

Onsite learning for all year levels will continue to be available for vulnerable children and children of essential workers.

Community sporting competitions remain on-hold but training and public gatherings for up to 10 people can recommence under the changes.

Home visitors are still prohibited, except for intimate partner or single-person bubble visits.

Masks will continue to be mandatory indoors and outdoors, apart from private residences, unless an exception applies.

The “careful easing” follows the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s most recent recommendation, which recognises that a “significant risk” remains of the delta variant spreading from NSW or Melbourne into regional Victoria.

“While this is fantastic news for most of regional Victoria, we’re encouraging everyone in these areas to keep up all the COVID-safe practices and, most importantly, keep coming forward to get vaccinated,” Mr Andrews said.

Victoria Police plan to expand their operation along the metropolitan border to protect regional Victoria and conduct spot checks in regional areas.

The fine for breaching the Chief Health Officer’s directions is $5,452.