Victoria’s Covid restrictions ease as Daniel Andrews reveals 25km travel bubble and scraps exercise time limit | Australia news

Melbourne’s 5km travel radius will expand to 25km from midnight under eased restrictions announced by the state’s premier Daniel Andrews.

From 11.59pm on Sunday, residents of the city who have been under lockdown for more than 100 days will be able to travel up to 25km for either exercise or shopping.

The city’s two-hour time limit for exercise and socialising will also be scrapped and groups of up to 10 people from two households will be permitted to gather outdoors.

Hairdressers and outdoor sporting facilities including tennis courts, golf courses and skate parks will reopen, and outdoor real estate auctions will recommence.

Several changes were also announced for regional Victoria, where two adults and two children will now be permitted to visit a home and hospitality venues can increase the number of patrons to 70 people outside and 40 people inside.

Andrews said on Sunday Victorians had done “an amazing job” during months of extended lockdown.

“What it means is that as so many cities across the world head into what is going to be a deadly winter, we in Melbourne and across Victoria are well-placed to have a Covid-safe summer and a Covid-normal 2021,” he said.

Restrictions to ease even further on 1 November

There will be further easing of restrictions in both Melbourne and regional Victoria from 11.59pm on Sunday 1 November.

From that date, Melbourne residents will be permitted to leave their homes for any reason, retail will reopen, hospitality venues will reopen with limits on the number of patrons, and two adults and two children will be able to visit another home once per day.

Andrews said if it was possible to make some of those changes safely before that date, the government would consider it.

The state announced another day of single figures for new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, with two cases recorded and no deaths.

Andrews hits back after federal MPs pile on premier

Andrews took aim at federal government MPs, including the health minister Greg Hunt, who have been critical of the state’s approach and called for a reopening in line with conditions in New South Wales.

“I don’t accept that anybody has a more complete picture of what this virus is doing in Victoria than the Victorian chief health officer, the Victoria deputy chief health officer, the Victorian health minister and the Victorian premier,” he said.

“My position to the Victorian communities but I’m not doing what is popular, I am doing what is safe. Because we don’t want to be back here again.”

Melbourne’s rolling 14-day case average dropped to 7.5 on Sunday, down 0.6 from Saturday.

Changes in Melbourne from 19 October

  • There will be no time limit on leaving your home for exercise or socialising.

  • The travel distance from your home will move from 5km to 25km for exercise and shopping.

  • Outdoor gatherings will increase to 10 people from two households.

  • The following settings will be open, subject to Covid-safe conditions: tennis courts, skate parks, golf courses. Hairdressers will reopen.

  • Real estate auctions will occur with a maximum of 10 people and commercial real estate inspections can occur.

  • Outdoor pools can host 30 swimmers. Indoor pools can open up for one-on-one hydrotherapy with a health professional.

  • The following will be allowed, subject to conditions: non-essential outdoor home maintenance, repairs, renovations and house painting can occur with a maximum of five workers.

  • Solo or automated car washing and poor cleaning will be allowed, mobile or home business pet grooming will be allowed, outdoor photography will be allowed, and there will be a full return of allied health services.

Changes in regional Victoria from 19 October

  • Two adults and two children will be able to visit a home.

  • Hospitality venues can increase their capacity to 70 people outside and 40 people inside.

  • Outdoor religious gatherings will increase to 20 people.

  • Indoor pools will open for people 18 and under to a maximum of 20 people.

  • One-on-one hydrotherapy with health professionals will also be allowed.

  • Libraries and toy libraries will reopen to a maximum of 20 people.

  • Households will now be able to visit a care facility, rather than one person visiting at a time.

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