Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions easing: Your five-minute guide to the state reopening

It’s the best news Melburnians have heard for months: COVID-19 restrictions are easing and the city is opening up after recording no new cases and no new deaths.

But like all things pandemic-related it’s not exactly straightforward.

From seeing your grandparents to wearing a mask to having a slap on the pokies, here’s what you need to know:

How restrictions are set to ease in Victoria. (9News)

In the most simple way possible, can you explain what restrictions are easing?

I can. All you need to remember is two dates: 11:59 pm October 27 (or tomorrow midnight) and 11:59pm November 8.

Essentially from tomorrow midnight retail shops can open, the bars can throw open their doors and restaurants can start serving up hot dinners.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has announced looser restrictions for the state. (9News)

That’s amazing! But it’s not like we can all rush out and get on the beers, is it?

Well, sort of – as long as wherever you are downing tinnies is following the rules and does not have too many people.

From 11:59pm tomorrow, pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants can have a maximum of 20 people indoors and a maximum of 50 people outdoors.

At midnight on November 8 – provided we haven’t had an explosion of new cases – those numbers will be bumped up to 40 people inside and 70 people outside.

What about the pokies? Can I play the poker machines?

Nothing in the government’s releases specified the use of poker machines – but it can be reasonably deduced that if you are part of a pub’s allowed capacity, and you are not sitting too close, it should be fine.

Melbourne is opening up after a cumulative months in lockdown. (Supplied)

Ok, no worries. Do I need a reason to leave home in Victoria?

Here’s the best news of all. From tomorrow midnight the “four reasons to leave home” are removed.

That means you don’t need to pretend you are exercising, going to work, providing care etc – you can leave your front door without a plan in the world and without an excuse to cover yourself.

People line up for COVID testing at a pop up clinic in Heidelberg West on October 25, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. The Premier announced that current restrictions will need to stay in place as a COVID cluster in the northern suburbs of Melbourne is assessed. Victoria had 7 new cases of COVID overnight and no deaths. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Awesome. But what about masks – do I still need to wear a mask?

You do. Masks are remaining mandatory outside your own home.

In his press conference this afternoon, Premier Daniel Andrews said masks provide a “low cost, high benefit” factor to restricting COVID-19 transmission.

A skateboarder in Melbourne, where skate parks have reopened. (Getty)

What about family barbecues? Can I visit my parents, grandparents, family?

We don’t know about this just yet. Premier Dan Andrews said he would provide clarification on family home visits tomorrow morning.

Currently, those in metro Melbourne cannot have visitors to their home unless they are providing care, childcare, or are performing an essential service.

There’s also the “single social bubble”, which we will likely see relaxed tomorrow.

End to Melbourne lockdown – how the Third Step will roll out in Victoria

What about the gym? Can I finally go and exercise indoors now?

Not just yet – but we finally have a date.

According to Dan Andrews, gyms and fitness studios will be able to open after 11:59pm on November 8.

There are rules around this too: gyms can only have one person for every eight square metres and a patron cap of 10 people per group or class. There is a cap of 20 people per venue.

All gymgoers will still need to wear a mask and a COVID-Safe marshal will have to be present.

Revival 24:7 gym in Bendigo. (9News)

Can I travel to regional Victoria?

Not just yet, but you can after 11:59pm on November 8.

Provided there are no massive spikes in cases, from that date the 25km travel restriction is removed, and Melburnians can travel out to the bush and vice versa.

Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all Australians. Visit the site here or call 1800512348
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