Lockdown to be lifted from midnight, few restrictions remain

By Our Reporter
Photo by Arturo Rey

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today announced that the short and sharp five-day lockdown will end at midnight tonight with some restrictions in place.

“From 11:59pm tonight (Feb 17), we will largely return to the previous rules—while keeping a watchful eye on some of the riskier settings,” Andrews said.

According to the announcement:

There will no longer be four reasons to leave home. The five-kilometre restriction will no longer apply.

Restaurants and retail can reopen. Same too with community facilities, entertainment venues and all other public places—although some additional limits on crowd sizes will be in place.

Students will be able to head back to school. Workers will be able to get back to work.

For offices—both public and private—that means a return to 50 per cent on site.

No more than five visitors to your home per day.  And limiting public gatherings with friends and family to 20.

“We can’t fully relax the rules in our hospitals and aged care homes yet either—instead, we’ll limit visits limit to one household per day and some specific exceptions,” the Premier said.

Masks will be required everywhere indoors except at home—at the supermarket, at the office, at the pub when you’re getting up to pay.

Masks will also be required outside if you can’t physically distance from others.

So far, 3,400 close contacts identified and isolated. Thousands of hours of painstaking interviews. 212,000 tests processed. 850,000 text messages into communities.

Andrews thanked the efforts of every Victorian for their patience, sacrifices and the hard slog because of which “we can be confident that slowly, and surely, we are driving the virus into the ground. It hasn’t been easy or straightforward. In fact, for those Victorians who are part of our health response, it’s been bloody hard work.”

He also urged every Victorian to “keep checking in when we’re heading out, washing our hands, keeping our distance.. and getting tested if you have any symptom, no matter how mild.

“Because as much as far as we’ve come, as much as we’ve achieved, without the full-scale rollout of the vaccine—this virus isn’t going away.”

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