It’s a big one, and outlines a shift in the government’s ongoing strategy in dealing with coronavirus.
“The whole way through this pandemic, our advice to Victorians has remained the same: ‘stay home’,” the statement says. “Now, as we begin to settle into a new normal, our message is ‘stay safe’. That means maintaining your physical distance. Using common sense.”
While people working from home must continue doing so “at least until the end of June”, plenty of positive news came out of the press conference.
On Tuesday May 26, outdoor playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor communal gym equipment will reopen.
At 11:59pm on 31 May, the limit on indoor and outdoor gatherings will increase to 20 people. That means that a household of five people can have 15 visitors for a small house party. People are also allowed to stay overnight once again. More people will also be allowed at significant occasions: up to 20 guests at weddings – plus the celebrant and couple – and up to 50 people at funerals.
Hotels and other accommodation will also reopen on the 31st, alongside campgrounds and caravan parks, except for those with communal facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Likewise, galleries, museums, zoos, amusement parks and drive-in cinemas will be allowed to reopen. So too will nail salons, spas, tattoo parlours and other beauty businesses. But as with restaurants and cafes, indoor businesses are only permitted up to 20 customers at a time, abiding by physical distancing rules, and each customer’s first name, second name and phone number must be collected and retained.
Libraries, youth centres and other community facilities will also reopen with no more than 20 people in a single area, plus staff. Men’s sheds and arts and crafts classes will resume.
Swimming pools will reopen to 20 people at a time, with “additional safety requirements”. Community sport will also resume, provided the sport is outdoors, non-competition, non-contact, and people are able to play 1.5 metres apart. Restrictions on professional sport will remain in place.
Auctions and open for inspections will also be limited to 20 people (plus those required to run the event) and agents will need to collect and retain the contact details of attendees.
“If community transmission rates continue to remain low and testing rates continue to remain high, we will look to further relax restrictions from 22 June,” the statement says. “From that date, indoor fitness and recreation facilities will open with up to 20 people per space and up to 10 people per group or activity at any one time.
“Up to 50 people will be permitted in restaurants, cafes, galleries, museums and for the first time, cinemas and theatres. And for those eager to hit the slopes, the ski season will open slightly later this year on 22 June.”