In a press conference today Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed seven new cases in the state and said from tomorrow restrictions would begin to be eased.
Stage 1 of the relaxed restrictions will come into effect as of 11:59 pm tomorrow night (Tuesday 12 May 2020) and will be in place until the end of May.
“As we have worked to flatten the curve, we’ve been telling Victorians there’s only four reasons to be out, ” Mr Andres said.
“We are adding a fifth reason and we are changing one of those four reasons.”
To clarify, the five reasons that Victorians will be able to venture outside are:
- to shop for food and other necessary goods and services;
- to access medical services or provide caregiving – for example, this includes shared parenting obligations or providing care and support to an unwell, disabled, elderly or pregnant friend or relative;
- to attend work or education where you can’t do those things from home;
- for exercise (in groups of up to 10 people, respecting physical distancing of 1.5m); or
- visiting friends and family – with a maximum gathering of up to ten outdoors and having up to five visitors in your home.
Other changes made to restrictions include:
- weddings will now be able to have ten guests and up to 20 people will be able to attend funerals held indoors and up to 30 if they’re outdoors.
- more of the outdoor recreational activities that so many Victorians have been missing will also be allowed: walking groups, fishing, hiking – and yes, even a game of golf. These activities will be subject to physical distancing to help keep people safe.
The Department of Education is currently finalising a plan to re-introduce face-to-face learning for schools by the end of Term 2. There will be a gradual introduction/phasing in of classes, and more information is anticipated to come in the near future.
Community sports clubs are able to commence training with groups up to 10 people, but must respect 1.5m physical distancing and ensure equipment is appropriately cleaned. Non-contact training only. Club houses will not be opened, and members are not to congregate for social reasons.
For restaurants and cafe, only take-away and home delivery service is able to continue for now. It is hoped that if people adhere to the restrictions that increased patronage for restaurants and cafes can be opened up with larger groups of 10 in June.
Daniel Andrews said that this is a cautious, appropriate and safe approach to the easing of restrictions at this stage, and emphasised the need to use good judgement and consider the health of other Victorians when following these new restrictions.
“But with more freedom comes more responsibility. I’m asking Victorians to use common sense – you should only spend time together if it’s safe. And you should only be undertaking these activities if you really need to. If it’s integral to your health and wellbeing,” Andrews said.
“That means it’s up to all of us to make this work. And it’s why our message has not changed: if you can stay at home – you must stay at home.”
For updates and FAQs about COVID-19, please head to the Department of Health and Human Services website. For all local information, head to Council’s Pandemic web page.