As almost 70 per cent of Victorians have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, restrictions will be eased across most of the state from Saturday September 18, excluding Ballarat. This includes an expanded 10-kilometre radius, double the time to exercise outdoors, the reopening of outdoor gyms and skate parks, plus picnics – whether or not you’ve received a vaccine shot.
In a press conference on Thursday September 16, Premier Daniel Andrews honoured his government’s promise to ease some restrictions as part of the milestone number of jabs given to those aged 16 and over. And, in accordance with the national cabinet strategy, we can expect further easing of restrictions when 70 per cent of Victorians are fully vaccinated, and again at 80 per cent double-dose. Victoria’s road map out of lockdown is expected to be announced on Sunday September 19.
For now, here’s what you can and can’t do in Melbourne from 11.59pm Friday September 17.
Can I leave my home?
There are now six permitted reasons to leave your home:
• Shopping for food or other essential items (limited to one person per household);
• Medical care or caregiving;
• Essential work and education, if you cannot work or study from home;
• Exercise, for up to four hours a day;
• To get vaccinated (or tested) at your nearest location;
• For outdoor social interaction (such as a picnic) of up to two people (whether vaccinated or not) or up to five people, plus dependents, from two households if fully vaccinated.
Is a lockdown radius in place?
Yes. It’s now double the distance, so you can travel up to 10 kilometres from your home. There are exceptions for essential work or shopping, if these things can’t be done within your radius.
Do I need to wear a mask?
Masks are mandatory whenever you leave home (for those aged 12 years and over), however exceptions apply, including for exercise. You do not need to wear a mask during exercise that’ll leave you puffed or out of breath. You should carry a face mask with you at all times, unless you have a lawful reason not to.
Can I exercise with a friend?
Yes, you can now exercise for up to four hours – double the previous two-hour limit. You’re now allowed to exercise outdoors with another person plus a fitness trainer. Outdoor gyms and skate parks will also reopen.
Can I have a picnic with friends?
Yes. This is the biggest change to the restrictions – and how many friends depends on your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated (i.e. you’ve received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine), five fully vaccinated adults (plus dependents) from up to two households can meet for a picnic for up to four hours. If you are not vaccinated, or partially vaccinated, you can meet with one other person (regardless of their vaccination status) for up to four hours. This is in addition to other permitted reasons to leave your home.
Can I drink booze at a picnic?
The rule for mask-wearing remains the same. You must wear a mask everywhere except your home and you cannot remove your mask to drink alcohol outdoors. Masks can be removed to eat or to drink non-alcoholic beverages.
Are restaurants open?
Hospitality venues – including restaurants, bars and cafes – can only remain open for takeaway.
Can I have a friend over?
No visitors are allowed in your home except for intimate partners. “Single bubbles” are available for those living alone. Private and public gatherings are also prohibited.
Can I have a childminder look after the kids?
Yes. In-home childcare will be extended to families where only one parent is an essential worker. It was previously permitted only for families with two working parents.
Are childcare centres open?
Childcare and early-learning centres are open to vulnerable children and children of essential workers only.
Can I broadcast a class outside or at an entertainment centre?
Yes. As part of the eased restrictions, up to five people can attend an entertainment venue or physical recreation facility for the purpose of broadcast – for example, a performance, to give a fitness class or for other classes.
Can I inspect a property?
Yes. Appointment-only, in-person real estate inspections are now permitted provided the property is vacant at the time of inspection. Real estate auctions will take place remotely.
Is there still a curfew?
The curfew from 9pm to 5am remains in place.
This story was updated at 5.40pm on September 17. An earlier version stated that childcare centres are open, but did not clarify that only vulnerable children and children of essential workers are allowed to attend.