Update: Lockdown extended and plan for future easing of restrictions

The Victorian Government has today announced that Victoria’s lockdown will again be extended. A press statement and table of restrictions is attached. The Premier had flagged last week that the lockdown would not end as anticipated on Thursday 9 September 2021 but had not provided details of the further extension.

The current lockdown in Metropolitan Melbourne is currently estimated to end on 23 September 2021.

The current lockdown in Regional Victoria, excluding Shepparton, may potentially be ending on 9 September 2021, however details are not yet confirmed.

Short term changes

Some minor changes will take place State-wide from 11.59pm on Thursday 2 September:

Current restrictions will remain in place, except for the following changes:

  • Playgrounds will re-open for children under 12 with only one parent or carer. Adults should not remove their masks to eat or drink. Playgrounds will have QR codes for checking in.
  • In-home care such as babysitters will be expanded to school aged children but only if both parents are authorised workers.

Future Easing of Restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne

Restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne will remain in place until 70% of Victorians have had at least one dose of vaccine. The Victorian Government estimates that this will occur around 23 September.

At that point, the following changes to restrictions are expected to occur:

  • The 5km radius will expand to 10km for exercise and shopping.
  • Exercise will be permitted for an extra hour, up to three hours per day.
  • Outdoor personal training will be allowed with up to two people plus the trainer.
  • Outdoor communal gym equipment and skate parks will reopen.
  • Private inspections of unoccupied premises for a new purchase or end of lease will be permitted but only one household may attend at a time, with the agent staying outdoors during the inspection.
  • Victoria’s construction workforce will be able to increase to 50 per cent when 90 per cent of their workers have received at least one vaccine dose, subject to epidemiology at the time.
  • Up to five staff will be able to work onsite at entertainment venues to broadcast performances.

The Victorian Government has stated that as we reach thresholds where 70% and 80% of Victorians are single dosed or doubled dosed vaccinated, more restrictions will ease at set intervals, in line with the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response.  

There is no further detail at this stage when dine-in hospitality or ordinary retail operations will resume.

Future Easing of Restrictions in Regional Victoria

The Victorian Government flagged during today’s press conference that lockdown may be able to end from next week in most of Regional Victoria, with the exception of Shepparton.

However, the easing of restrictions is expected to be less substantial than on previous occasions.

Further details will be announced in due course, but it is reasonable to assume that any resumption of trade will include reduced overall patron capacities (most venues could previously open with up to 100 patrons when the circuit-breaker lockdowns ended), and potentially limits on certain activities.

Business Support

Further business support is expected to be announced in the coming days.

There have been consistent ‘top-ups’ to existing business grants for the duration of this lockdown and consistent application of COVID Disaster Payments for employees and these are expected to continue for the lockdown extension.

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.