Australia

LIVE: Lockdown restrictions eased in Melbourne

Residents in Melbourne will wake to a raft of eased restrictions on Monday after the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the city would move into the second step of its roadmap out of lockdown.

The changes have come ahead of schedule after the city endured a severe lockdown in response to a second wave of coronavirus cases. 

While a number of restrictions were eased at 11.59pm on Sunday, Mr Andrews said other changes would be rolled out weeks ahead of schedule — so long as cases remained under control.

“The trigger point for review by our public health team will be based solely on reaching our case number targets,” Mr Andrews said. “That means the sooner we hit those targets – the sooner we can consider our next steps.

“It also means that getting back to the things we love – seeing more of the people we love – not only is achievable, it’s in our hands.”

The easing of restrictions comes with the Premier announcing a new fine of $5000 for unlawful indoor or outdoor gatherings. For a full list of the changes, see our wrap here. 

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Victoria Craw

Under the changes announced on Sunday, a household, or a group of five people from two different households can now meet outdoors to socialise. Children aren’t included in the limit. A single person household are also allowed to nominate one person as a visitor.

There will now be no one person limit on shopping for necessary items.

Almost 130,000 workers will return to various workplaces from tomorrow, which is almost 30,000 more than originally anticipated.

Two people are now allowed to exercise outside with a personal trainer, and outdoor pools will be open for exercise.

Mr Andrews also announced with almost 130,000 people returning to work in various industries, the 5km radius limit for exercise will also be applicable to a person’s workplace.

These industries include:

– Supermarkets and food distribution centres, which will be able to return to full capacity;

– Abattoirs, seafood and meat processing plants will be able to increase worker capacities;

– Manufacturing can have up to 90 per cent of the workforce return;

– Sole traders doing work outside such as gardening and landscapers can return, but they will not be able to work in teams; and

– Pet grooming services will also return.

Exercise must be limited to two hours outside the home.

Childcare centres can also be open with the 5km rule not applying to these centres.

Sunday night marked the final night of Melbourne’s curfew which forced Melbourne residents to stay at home between 9pm and 5am.

The easing of restrictions comes with the Premier announcing a new fine of $5000 for unlawful indoor or outdoor gatherings.

Phoebe Loomes

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and the Health Minister Greg Hunt have released a joint statement on the easing of restrictions in Victoria.

The statement acknowledged the announcements were a step in the right direction, but the leaders said they were “deeply concerned” about the mental health impacts of a prolonged lockdown.

The leaders said the easing of restrictions was “vitally important” so Victorians can “resume their normal lives”.

“Today’s announcement is a small but further important step in that direction. The removal of the curfew, the ability of sole traders to operate garden maintenance and related services and the improvements in supermarket capacity and manufacturing are all welcome.

The PM wants Melbourne to go further.

“It will be important that more be done in the weeks ahead to safely ease more restrictions.

“We note that at similar case levels NSW was fundamentally open while remaining Covidsafe due to a world class contact tracing facility.

“As many epidemiologists have encouraged, we would support Victoria in reviewing the trigger of five and zero cases with regards to the third and last steps.

“As it stands this lockdown is already longer than that faced by residents in many cities around the world. We remain deeply concerned about the mental health impacts of a prolonged lockdown on Melbourne residents.

“The Morrison Government has already delivered more than $27 billion in economic support to Victorians during this crisis and we have extended JobKeeper for another six months which is estimated to see an additional $16.8 billion be paid to Victorians in the December and March quarters.

“The government will continue to support Victorians during these challenging times.”

Phoebe Loomes

The CEO of Qantas Alan Joyce has criticised the “patchwork” border policies around the country, saying the policies don't “make sense”.

Mr Joyce says the country needs consistent policies for the “federation to work again”.

“There's clearly a patchwork of inconsistency around the country at the moment,” Mr Joyce told 7 News Spotlight. “Queensland closed to Sydney, with Western Australia closed to every state, with Tasmania closed to just about every state.

“But that said, Australia is opening up this week, so this inconsistency seems to not make sense. We've had grandparents that couldn't see their grandkids that were born. We've had couples that have broken up with families that couldn't see sick relatives. So it's clearly a significant human cost of this as well.

“And that's why it is very important that we get this right, and I think it's very important that we get this right before Christmas.

“We are optimistic about the future. It's very clear when people can travel that there's huge pent up demand. We know we can do it.

“We just need consistency around the country. We need the federation to work and I know the Prime Minister has been pushing on this and he's a big supporter of the borders opening up, but we need that consistency across the country to allow the federation to work again.”

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