Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announces coronavirus restrictions changes, including relaxed rules for face masks - ABC News

 proxy.yoo.workers.dev  11/21/2020 23:54:17 

Face masks will no longer be required outside in Victoria from midnight, as long as physical distancing can be maintained.

  • From 11:59pm December 13, Victorians will be allowed to have up to 30 visitors to their home per day
  • The Chief Health Officer says he's "confident" Victoria has no community transmission
  • Caps on public gatherings and indoor venues are also being increased from midnight

Victorians will still need to wear face masks indoors, and carry them outdoors in case they cannot physically distance.

"If you go to Bunnings and you are inside the store, you are wearing a mask. If you are in the car park, you do not have to wear your mask," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"But if you are queueing up for a sausage, and you are with other people, and you are simply not keeping a distance  you are part of a crowd, you need to put the mask on."

Masks remain mandatory on public transport.

Three people, wearing face masks, sit on a picnic rug in a park.
Face masks are set to become slightly less ubiquitous in Melbourne.(ABC News: Chris Le Page)

The relaxed rule is among a series of restrictions being eased as Victoria enters the final step of its "roadmap" towards COVID normal.

Victorians will be able to have up to 15 visitors to their homes per day from tomorrow, and the limit on outdoor gatherings will increase to 50 people.

Indoor venues like cinemas, art galleries and museums will be able to host up to 150 people indoors.

The number of patrons allowed indoors at large hospitality venues will increase to 150, with total venue capacity capped at 300  subject to a density quota of one person per four square metres in larger venues.

But for smaller hospitality venues, the density limit has been relaxed to allow one person per two square meters, with a limit of 50 customers.

Adult contact and non-contact sport will also be allowed to start up again.

For indoor sports there will be a limit of 150 people and a group size of up to 20, while outdoor sports can have up to 500 people in groups of up to 50.

Mr Andrews has also announced that Victorians will be allowed to have up to 30 visitors to their home per day by Christmas.

That change will come into effect from 11:59pm on December 13.

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Play Video. Duration: 44 seconds
Premier Daniel Andrews says indoor gathering limits will increase again by Christmas.

Brett Sutton confident no community transmission in Victoria

Victoria today recorded its 23rd straight day of zero new coronavirus cases and infections.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said while elimination "may or may not be the right word" for the state's status, he was confident community transmission was no longer occurring.

"We have not got into the epidemiological threshold of 28 days yet, but I'm confident we will get to that," he said.

However, he said people should remain mindful of health measures like physical distancing and hand hygiene as an "insurance policy for any incursion that may happen in the future".

"We have seen a big outbreak in South Australia," Professor Sutton said. "That could have been much bigger if it hadn't been picked up at the early stage.

"That will be an ongoing risk until there is really substantial rollout of the vaccine across the world."

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Play Video. Duration: 42 seconds
Brett Sutton says coronavirus will remain a risk until there's widespread distribution of a vaccine.

Mr Andrews said two weeks from now, on December 6, he was hoping to announce the next series of changes to Victoria's rules.

"I think that would be the last changes this year, and we would lock those in," he said.

NSW border opens as Victoria blocks visitors from SA 'red zones'

The New South Wales border is opening to Victoria on Monday, 137 days after it closed due to the state's second wave.

"We never want to see this ever again," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

"This is the last time in our lifetime this border is closed, and we know [when it reopens] it will be a whole new era for both of our states."

It means NSW will become the only state to freely welcome arrivals from all other jurisdictions in Australia.

Victoria is maintaining some restrictions on movement from South Australia, despite SA ending its "circuit breaker" lockdown early when authorities discovered the risk of community transmission was not as bad as initially thought.

A permit system has come into effect, and anyone who has visited the state's "red zone" exposure sites will need a special exemption to visit Victoria.

"For people from South Australia who are exposed to the South Australian Government's defined high-risk sites, you will not be granted a permit," Health Minister Martin Foley said.

He said people from metropolitan Adelaide would be granted a permit, but would need to provide travel information and contact details for while they are in Victoria, and would be strongly advised to get tested.

"If you are either transiting through South Australia or from regional South Australia, you will be granted a permit with similar contact information [requirements] but not the same strong recommendation regarding testing."

Mr Foley said the 70-kilometre border bubble remained in place, allowing residents in those areas to travel freely in that limited region.

You can read more about Victorian border crossing permits on the State Government's website.

Premier Daniel Andrews's full statement:

Three months ago, Victoria had 4,293 active cases. Today we have one.

It's an incredible achievement. And the clearest evidence there is of our determination to not only get on top of this virus  but to squash it.

Back then, the goal  the hope was something a little more 'normal' for Christmas.

Today, because of the efforts of every Victorian, that's exactly what we've been able to achieve.

For those keen to get on and plan how many seats there'll be around the table, I won't waste another second.

Today we can confirm you'll be able to host up to 30 people in your home for Christmas Day. Babies under 12 months won't count towards the cap.

This change will come into effect from 11.59pm, 13 December, just in time for catch-ups, and Christmas barbies  and for our Jewish communities, the closing days of Hanukkah.

We're also able to confirm some more immediate changes.

From 11:59pm tonight, the number of visitors to your home will increase from two to 15 per day.

That can be split across different times  ten for lunch, and five for dinner  as long as people are sticking to a total of 15.

Outdoor gatherings in a public place  the park, the beach  will increase to 50.

For those couples who've had to delay their special day, weddings will increase to 150 people. The same number will apply to funerals and religious ceremonies indoors.

There'll be changes for our hospitality sector too.

For smaller venues, the density limit will change to one person for every two square metres  up to 50 customers. QR code record keeping will be mandatory. For bigger venues, the density limit will stay the same, but the cap will increase to 150. Total venue capacity will also rise to 300.

Cinemas, galleries and museums will also be able to host up to 150 people indoors.

And in good news for community clubs, contact and non-contact sports can begin for adults as well as kids  150 people indoors with a group size of up to 20 and 500 outdoors with groups of up to 50.

Organisers will also be able to apply to host a public event. Different requirements and rules will need to apply, depending on whether it's a school fete or a major sporting match.

We're also able to begin a phased approach for staff heading back to the office. From 30 November, up to 25 per cent of workers will be able to attend onsite.

I want to be clear though  unless you're one of those people nominated by your employer  you need to keep working from home.

We're also making some changes to the rules around masks.

In short, you'll still need to wear one when you're indoors and on public transport  and where you can't keep your distance.

But if you're outdoors and you can keep a safe distance, masks will no longer be mandatory.

For example, you'll still need to keep your mask on if you're at a busy outdoor market  or in line for a snag at your local Bunnings.

If you're headed for a quiet stroll around the neighbourhood, you won't need to wear a mask  but you will need to carry one, in case the situation changes.

I know for some people, they'll think this is too slow and still too restrictive.

But the point is, masks are a small sacrifice that help keep all of us safe.

And as we've been reminded so recently, all it takes is one case before you've got a much bigger outbreak.

We'll have more to say about what a "COVIDSafe Summer" will look like in the next few weeks  and in line with what our public health experts are telling us is safe.

For now, though, I want to thank Victorians.

Getting here was by no means guaranteed. But we did it. You did it.

It's been a long, hard winter.

Now, it's time to enjoy the sun.

More to come.

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