25km limit lifted as state comes back together from tonight

By Our Reporter
Bourke Street, Melbourne. Photo by Darren Nunison Unplash

Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino on Wednesday (16 June) announced easing of more restrictions beginning with the lifting of the 25km travel limit.

“From 11.59pm Thursday 17 June, the 25km travel limit will be removed and travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria will resume,” said Merlino at a press conference attended by Health Minister Martin Foley, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar.

Merlino said, “The state will come back together from tomorrow night”, with visitors allowed back in homes, and businesses including gyms and indoor entertainment venues allowed to reopen.

“Distance from our neighbours, from our workplaces – from the people we love and the places we’ve missed. Distance that has kept us apart but kept us safe and saved lives. But Victoria’s at its best when we’re together.”

Two visitors per day (plus dependants) will be permitted to gather inside the home in metro Melbourne, and up to five people (plus dependants) in regional Victoria.

Twenty people can gather outside in Melbourne, and 50 in regional Victoria.

Masks will continue to be required indoors but they are no longer required outdoors – however they’ll still be recommended when you can’t maintain physical distancing.

In Melbourne, funerals can be held with up to 75 mourners, and weddings no more than 20 – and 100 mourners and 50 wedding guests in regional Victoria.

Gyms can open across Melbourne, with density limits and COVIDSafe plans in place. And hair and beauty services can now operate without masks during service.

These are positive changes, but it’s important to note that there are still some differences between regional and metropolitan settings, Merlino said.

“We have not seen cases at all in regional Victoria. But knowing what we do about how infectious the Delta and Kappa strains are, and how quickly we saw them move through the community prior to the lockdown, we must remain vigilant.

“We want to keep regional Victoria virus free – that’s why the public health team have recommended slightly stronger settings for Melbourne as extra protection while we run down any remaining cases,” the Acting Premier said.

These rules mean that people will now be able to travel across the state, but also recognise that the majority of interactions in regional Victoria will be between regional Victorians.

And for Melburnians travelling to the snow this season, that means a requirement for everyone to get a COVID test within 72 hours of departing for Victoria’s alpine resorts, and a negative result.

“International experience has shown us that there is a high risk of spread in cold climates, where people come together to socialise and spend time indoors after a day out on the slopes,” said Merlino.

If cases continue to remain low, there will be a further ease to restrictions in another week.

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