For those of us in Victoria, 2021 has been nothing if not a repeat of last year. What, with the revolving door of lockdowns and life halting every few months, it's easy to feel like you're living a scene out of Groundhog Day. But not for too much longer. As of yesterday, October 17, premier Dan Andrews announced that the double vaccinated folk of Victoria will bid farewell to their final lockdown a week earlier than what was initially anticipated; with some restrictions lifting from 11:59pm, Thursday October 21. So what does the roadmap entail? Read below for all the details.
What freedoms can I enjoy if I'm fully-vaccinated in Victoria?
From this coming Thursday, those who have been completely vaxxed are allowed to have up to ten people each day visit their homes in both regional and metropolitan Victoria. Dan Andrews also said we can expect to host up to 30 people in our houses come Christmas-time. You can also get a haircut and your eyebrows waxed with hairdressers and beauty services allowed to reopen with up to 5 fully-vaxxed patrons.
Whereas if you're stationed in regional Victoria, the following changes apply to you. Provided that everyone is double-vaccinated, indoor settings can increase from ten to 30 people per venue, while outdoor venues can accompany up to 100 people per venue. Remember that if the vaccination status cannot be proved then the venue can only hold 20 people.
Can retail reopen in Victoria yet?
At this point in time, Dan Andrews has deemed it too risky to open brick and mortar stores. Only when 80% of Victorians aged 16+ are fully vaccinated will retail shopping open. Which at this stage is looking to be ten days from Thursday, October 21.
When can I go to the pub?
As of this Thursday, outdoor venues like cafes, cinemas, and exercise facilities like pools can reopen with up to 50 people. While, indoor restaurants and cafes will fling open their doors to 20 guests, as long as everyone (including staff) are double vaxxed.
Will there still be a curfew in place?
One of the harshest realities of living under lockdown is having to adhere to a blanket curfew. Thankfully as lockdown lifts, so too does the curfew and the 15km travel rule. Although, travel between regional and metropolitan Victoria is still limited to decrease the prospect of covid-19 spreading to rural and more vulnerable communities.
Do you still have to wear masks in Victoria?
At the moment, Victorians are still required to wear masks indoors and outdoors in both regional and metropolitan areas until the state hits its 80% double-vaccination rate.
As for children returning to school, the mask mandate requires kids in year 3 and above to wear masks indoors - a rule that is already in place for regional schools. However, when it comes to students in kindergarten to year 2, they're strongly encouraged to wear masks but it's not compulsory. Although the decision is backed by studies and data, it's been criticised by NSW deputy premier Paul Toole as "crazy".
That's just about it for the moment. If any more changes are announced, we'll be keeping you updated here. And if you're wondering how Victoria's lockdown roadmap differs to those in New South Wales, we've compiled a list of Dominic Perrottet's exit strategy here.