Melbourne’s five million residents will no longer need to wear masks outdoors and can now travel 25km from home as the city emerges from its harsh Covid-19 lockdown.
As of 11.59pm on Thursday night, Melburnians can also now welcome two visitors into their home and gather outdoors in groups of up to 12 people.
Gyms, indoor entertainment and gaming venues will also reopen, Acting Premier James Merlino said on Wednesday afternoon.
In a blow for footy fans though, Mr Merlino said crowds would still be banned for the weekend’s AFL games – although spectators could start attending games again in regional Victoria.
Victoria reported five new local cases on Wednesday – three of which are linked to known outbreaks – after recording only two additional community infections on Tuesday.
A woman wearing a mask sits and looks at her phone in the Bourke Street Mall on June 10. Mandatory mask-wearing rules are set to be scrapped on Thursday at 11.59pm after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning
Public gathering limits are set to rise from 10 to 20 and capacity restrictions in bars and restaurants from 100 to 150, while gyms may be allowed to re-open.
The ban on Melburnians having guests at their homes could also be lifted to bring the city’s restrictions into line with those in regional Victoria.
Since last Friday, regional Victorians are allowed to welcome a maximum of two adults per household.
The cap on community sport, which is set at 50 participants, may also be lifted.
However, a government source said an announcement about whether restrictions could be eased could be put off until Thursday morning.
In addition to five new local cases, the state’s health officials said three infections were also acquired overseas from 17,538 tests in the past 24 hours.
Two pedestrians are seen exercising at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne on June 2. A government source said an announcement about whether restrictions could be eased could be put off until Thursday morning
Cafes in Melbourne’s Degraves Street are pictured. Capacity restrictions in bars and restaurants are expected to rise from 100 to 150 after a meeting of Victorian government officials on Wednesday
Three of the cases are linked to known outbreaks, Victoria’s Department of Health said.
The state on Tuesday afternoon previously recorded two surprise new cases of coronavirus linked to a townhouse where an aged care worker tested positive.
Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed the new cases were linked to the Kings Park Apartment Complex on Dodds and Wells Streets in Southbank.
Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed the two new coronavirus cases recorded on Tuesday were linked to the Kings Park Apartment Complex on Dodds and Wells Streets in Southbank
The cases, both men, will be included in Wednesday’s tally – as a mass testing initiative of the building is now underway.
More than 200 people have been tested so far and the building is locked down until they confirm it hasn’t spread further.
Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said the two new cases live in separate apartments ‘adjacent to the four other positive cases that we’ve already seen in that wider complex’.
Victoria has recorded two shock new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday afternoon linked to the Southbank townhouse where an aged care worker tested positive
He said the chance of spreading between apartments was low and supported the idea of people remaining in their flats despite problems with cross-infection in hotels.
‘We don’t have any evidence of apartment-to-apartment transition like in hotel quarantine,’ Weimar said.
‘I don’t think we see the direct parallels.’
Hundreds of people who live in the low-rise complex were forced into self-isolation on Sunday, after authorities established a link between two previous coronavirus cases who live there.
A total of six people who live in the apartment have tested positive for Covid-19.
‘Those two positive cases are connected to some communal areas that we are concerned about, thoroughfares within that particular complex,’ Weimar told reporters.
The first three cases were transferred to hotel quarantine upon testing positive.
One positive case, a baby, is still in the complex with its mother.
Mr Foley said more than 200 residents were tested on Sunday.