• Staff Writers

Victorian restrictions ease further

Coronavirus restrictions will be eased further in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

From 11.59pm on Thursday, Melbourne's 25km limit will end, and the ban on travel from the city into regional areas will also be lifted.

Regional Victorians will be able to welcome five adults into their home each day - up from two - and more patrons into restaurants and cafes for seated service.

Independent MP for Mildura, Ali Cupper said in a video posted online (embedded below) that regional Victorian community event attendance restrictions had been eased:

“(For) physical (activity) and recreation (there is a) maximum venue capacity of 300, for indoor spaces, and an outdoor patron capacity of 1,000 people.
“We are edging slowly closer to normal, but I do not want to minimise the distress and the inconvenience this has caused, particularly to our business sector.
“They (regional Victorians) are feeling a lot of pain.”

Masks will no longer be mandatory outdoors and venues such as gyms are able to reopen.

Melbourne office worker caps will increase to 50 per cent - or up to 20 people - and Melbourne community sports competitions can resume, although spectators are barred aside for parents, guardians and carers. As such, crowds are still not allowed at games in Melbourne.

Up to 7000 fans can attend Friday night's AFL match at GMHBA Stadium between the Cats and the Western Bulldogs. Yesterday, Geelong CEO Brian Cook had said the then-standing zero attendance restriction would cost the club $900,000, with the club needing over 9,000 people able to attend for the event to be profitable.

Melburnian homes will be allowed to have two visitors per day.

Crowds are still not allowed at games in Melbourne.

Victoria's new restrictions will be in place for the next week, with slightly stronger measures remaining in the city.

Acting Premier, James Merlino, said:

“Since this pandemic started, distance has been one of the hardest things to live with.
“Distance from our neighbours, from our workplaces - from the people we love and the places we’ve missed.
“Distance that has kept us apart but kept us safe and saved lives.
“But Victoria’s at its best when we’re together.”
“We all know better than most just how easily this virus takes hold and keeping on top of the situation means that we all have to protect our freedoms.
“That means continuing to do the things that have diffused this outbreak.”

Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, said:

"We are making progress.
“This is a step forward.
"It's really tough. This is 16 months into a pandemic, there is no question that people are over this.”

The raft of eased restrictions came as Victoria recorded three new locally acquired COVID-19 cases.

The Health Department confirmed five new local COVID-19 cases were recorded in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, two of which had already been announced.

An incident response team has been dispatched and contact tracers are working to identify her close contacts.

The other two cases are primary close contacts of previously announced cases at Southbank's Kings Park Apartment Complex.