Regional Victoria to advance to COVID-19 'third step' on Wednesday night

Regional Victoria to advance to COVID-19 'third step' at 11.59pm on Wednesday, September 16

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The news regional Victoria has been waiting for.

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Regional Victoria will advance to the 'third step' of the COVID-19 roadmap to recovery at 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Premier Daniel Andrews made the highly-anticipated announcement on Tuesday, as regional Victoria continues to show more promising signs in the fight against coronavirus.

The regions have now met the two key benchmarks needed to take the next step, allowing for the further easing of restrictions.

The 14-day new daily case average is down to 3.6 (well below the benchmark of five), while there has not been a mystery case recorded since September 1.

These figures were confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday morning.

The key changes include:

  1. No restrictions on reasons to leave home
  2. Gatherings of up to 10 people outdoors allowed
  3. You can have five visitors to your home, although they must from the one household that has been selected as your 'household bubble'. Your 'household bubble' cannot change. Infants under 12 months are not included in this figure.
  4. Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to open but with group limits of 10, as well as other density rules
  5. Accommodation venues to open, but with household bubble restrictions
  6. Travel within Victoria allowed across all areas in the 'third step'
  7. Schools return to onsite learning from Term 4 with safety measures
  8. Weddings: allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).
  9. Funerals: allowed with up to 20 people (not including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral).
  10. Religion: outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed, facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader
  11. Real estate: private inspections by appointment only, auctions outdoors subject to gathering limits.
  12. Exercise: Outdoor contact and non-contact sport for under-18, outdoor non-contact sport only for adults, with gathering and density limits, outdoor skateparks open, outdoor fitness for 10 people.

A buoyed Mr Andrews said he was extremely proud to make the announcement.

"It's a massive thing, it is such good news," Mr Andrews said.

"This is a great day for regional Victoria.

"It's a credit to everyone in regional Victoria. I'm proud of you, I'm grateful to you."

Mr Andrews also made somewhat of a surprise announcement by allowing some indoor dining, with extremely tight restrictions.

Indoor venues can open with 10 seated patrons per space subject to 'one person per four square metres' rule, with a maximum two spaces per venue. For larger venues, that's a maximum of 20 people inside.

There will be a cap of 50 people in outside venues, subject to 'one person per two square metres' rule.

Tables must be 1.5m apart and a two-hour time limit will be in place.

Venues with both inside and outside seating can potentially allow 70 patrons at one time.

Mr Andrews said he would make further announcements about enforcing the rules to protect the regions on Wednesday.

In Ballarat there has not been an active case for a week, while the caseload is down to single figures in other key regional areas.

There are only 43 active cases in regional Victoria.

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The story Regional Victoria to advance to COVID-19 'third step' on Wednesday night first appeared on The Courier.

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