From 11.59pm on Sunday September 13, the stage-four lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne will be extended for two weeks – with new conditions.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the news in a press conference on Sunday afternoon. “We can’t run out of lockdown,” he said. “We have to take steady and safe steps out of lockdown, and make sure that in opening up we can stay open.”

Step one – in effect from 11.59pm on September 13
The current stage-four restrictions came into effect on August 5 with an intended end date of September 13. Starting September 14, the 8pm curfew will be extended to 9pm, and exercise will be extended from one hour per day to two hours per day.

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“Single social bubbles” will also be introduced. In the same way intimate-partner arrangements currently work, people living alone will be able to nominate one other person and visit each other at their homes. Public outdoor gatherings of two people will be allowed, and playgrounds will reopen.

Step two – in effect from September 28, subject to public-health advice
As long as case numbers are between 30 to 50 per day, public gatherings will rise to five people, and schools will begin to reopen in stages. Outdoor pools will reopen and personal training sessions will resume with up to two people per trainer, per session.

Step three – in effect from October 26, subject to public-health advice
If the daily average of cases over the previous 14 days is less than five, the curfew will no longer apply. There will also be no restrictions on reasons for leaving home or distance travelled, and childcare centres, retailers and hairdressers (but not other beauty businesses) will reopen. Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to resume seated trade but with density limits and a majority of customers seated outside.

Step four – in effect from November 23, subject to public-health advice
Hospitality will reopen for indoor dining with a group limit of 20 people and a cap of 50 total patrons, and public gatherings will be increased to up to 50 people outdoors. Other beauty services will also resume. Exercise restrictions will be dropped, and organised contact sport will resume for all ages.

“I want a Christmas that is as close to normal as possible,” Andrews said, “and these steps are the only way to get there.”

In regional Victoria, from 11.59pm on September 13, public gatherings of up to five people from a maximum of two households will be permitted.

The announcement comes after 63 new coronavirus cases were reported on Sunday. Victoria’s daily case number dropped to double digits on August 29 for the first time since July 5.