REGIONAL Victoria will tomorrow night move to Step Three of the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 – but freedom is still not on the agenda until the end of November.
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced changes which end any restrictions on leaving home, will allow public gatherings of as many as 10 people and see schools go back in term four.
You will also now be allowed visitors at home – but only from one other household.
Hospitality can reopen but mostly for outdoor seated service as well as takeaway and all retail will be allowed to open – that includes hairdressers and personal care (but only that can be done without removing a client’s mask).
Other key changes cover travel within Victoria, letting you go anywhere within the Step 3 zone; weddings can have 10 people (including the bridal couple, two witnesses and a celebrant); funerals are allowed 20 people as well as those needed to conduct services; outdoor events and venues can reopen in the entertainment sector (subject to preapproved plans) and real estate gets open inspections back on an appointment only basis.
Gyms will also remain closed for indoor activity; but outdoor contact and non-contact sport will be allowed for people aged 18 and younger, outdoor non-contact sport only for adults, with gathering and density limits, outdoor skateparks open and outdoor fitness for groups of 10 people.
Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said these changes were still penalising regional Victorians for the sins of the Andrews Labor government’s botched hotel quarantine and contact tracing programs.
He said regional Victoria has led the state in the management of the pandemic and its reward for that has been crippling economic clampdowns and massive social disruption.
“But what will really make these limited changes really help turn this around is for the NSW government to now relax its border controls in communities the length of the Murray,” Mr Walsh said.
“The sooner we can get daily life back to normal, from Swan Hill to Echuca, the faster we will start rebuilding our lives,” he said.
“With NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian pressuring Queensland to lift its border sanctions, she must now do the same along her state’s southern borders.
“Until that happens; we will still be a dislocated community and we have had enough of that.”