Update: Lockdown to End 11:59pm Thursday 21 October

The Victorian Government has today announced that the lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne will end and a further easing of restrictions will occur state wide at 11:59pm on Thursday 21 October, as a result of 70% of eligible Victorians being fully vaccinated.

Changes to restrictions will be greater than what was originally anticipated as part of the roadmap, which is of course very welcome news for industry and patrons. A press statement and updated summary roadmap are attached. The updated summary is much more concise than the original published roadmap, and so where there is no specified change we assume at this stage that restrictions will ease in accordance with the previously published roadmap. A copy of the original roadmap and our summary advice is here.

As a broad summary, the following changes to restrictions will occur:

Metropolitan Melbourne

  1. There will no longer be only five reasons to leave the home. People can leave the home for any reason.
  2. The curfew will no longer be in place.
  3. There will no longer be a travel limit, but people in metropolitan Melbourne cannot enter regional Victoria without an authorised reason.
  4. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can open for seated service with 20 people indoors and up to 50 people outdoors. Venues remain subject to density limits and can only open to those who are fully vaccinated. The 20 indoor patrons is a change from the previous roadmap.
  5. Funerals and weddings will be permitted for 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors. If vaccination status is unknown, up to 10 people are permitted indoors.
  6. Large scale construction sites will increase to 100 percent capacity but only if all workers are fully vaccinated.
  7. Up to 10 people including dependants will be allowed to visit the home each day, and up to 15 people including dependents will be able to gather outdoors. It is recommended that all individuals visiting the home or gathering outdoors in groups be fully vaccinated but this is not required. Both of these are changes from the previous roadmap.
  8. There will be a staggered return of grade 3 to year 12 students to schools from 22 October.

All other easing of restrictions appears to be consistent with the existing roadmap.

Regional Victoria

  1. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can operate with 30 people indoors and 100 people outdoors if everyone is fully vaccinated. This is an increase from 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors. If the vaccinated status of patrons is unknown, 20 people are permitted outdoors. The previous roadmap included density restrictions and we expect this will still be the case.
  2. Gyms can open with up to 30 people indoors if everyone is fully vaccinated.
  3. Community sport can open indoors for the minimum number of people required.
  4. Up to 10 people including dependants will be allowed to visit the home each day, and up to 20 people including dependents will be able to gather outdoors. It is recommended that all individuals visiting the home or gathering outdoors in groups be fully vaccinated but this is not required. Both of these are changes from the previous roadmap.
  5. All school students will return onsite full time from 22 October.

All other easing of restrictions appears to be consistent with the existing roadmap.

Further Changes to Occur at 80%

The Victorian Government has also confirmed that further changes will occur when 80% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated. At that point, which is at this stage expected to occur around Melbourne Cup Day on 2 November 2021, the following changes to restrictions are anticipated:

  1. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can operate with 150 fully vaccinated people indoors and 500 outdoors.
  2. Community sport will open indoors for the minimum number required.
  3. Hairdressing, beauty and personal care can open for fully vaccinated people.
  4. All retail can open.
  5. Weddings, funerals and religious services will be permitted for 150 fully vaccinated people indoors and 500 outdoors.
  6. People are encouraged to work from home if possible, but fully vaccinated individuals will be permitted to attend work.
  7. Public gatherings will increase to 30.

Preparing for re-opening

Venues should prepare for reopening including ensuring that COVIDSafe plans and QR check ins are in place and updated where need be. Venues should make appropriate enquiries to ensure that they will have all required COVID Marshalls and, where required, COVID Check-in Marshalls prior to opening.

Venues should also expect to be required to verify the vaccination status of patrons attending venues. Further details of what precisely is required will be announced in the coming Directions, however we expect that all venues will be required to confirm the vaccination status of patrons prior to entry and retain that information if requested by an authorised officer.

While recreational travel is still restricted between regional and metropolitan areas, since hospitality and entertainment venues are re-opening in metropolitan Melbourne it is likely that residency checks may not be required for regional areas. Residency checks may still be required for any facilities that are operating in regional Victoria that are not yet open in metropolitan Melbourne – for instance, competitive indoor community sport (which is open in regional Victoria, but only training appears to be open in metropolitan Melbourne).

A further update will be published on Friday following a review of the updated directions with a particular emphasis on vaccination verification requirements.