Those of us stationed in Victoria are no strangers to the yo-yo-ing nature of lockdowns. One day you're out and about, then suddenly cases spike and you're plunged indoors once more. Naturally, this level of unpredictability can get old fast. Perhaps it's for this reason that our friends in Victoria have reached its 70% first-dose target a week early; with initial predictions set for September 23. Of course, this kind of concerted effort is to be rewarded and as such, Premier Dan Andrews has announced new freedoms for Victoria - ones to look forward to as the weekend rolls around.
What are the new freedoms for people in Melbourne?
Wondering what these new freedoms are? Just yesterday, Andrews introduced a new reason for leaving the house. Beginning from 11:59pm this evening, our friends in Melbourne can enjoy 'outdoor social interaction'. This means that one person is allowed to meet up with another individual for a picnic, a walk or other outdoor activity. So dust off your picnic blankets, stock up on brillat-savarin and head on over to your local park!
For those who are fully-vaxxed your picnic can be marginally larger; with up to five adults and children from two households allowed to gather outdoors from 11:59pm tonight also. As for other freedoms to gear up for over the weekend? Outdoor exercise has been extended from two to four hours per day, with outdoor personal training green lit to allow two people, plus a trainer to work out at one time. Not only that, but the 5km travel limited is to increase to 10km giving everyone a little more leg room. While outdoor communal gym equipment can be used once more, as can skateparks. Great news, I bet, for those among us who tuned in to the Olympics and pledged to learn how to do a kick flip, even if it killed us (guilty).
What freedoms are there for those in regional Victoria?
What about if you live in regional Victoria? First off, lucky you. But also, most places (excluding Ballarat) will see gyms, both outdoor and indoor pools reopen, allowing for swimming lessons and hydrotherapy to resume. However, spas, saunas and steam rooms will have to remain closed for the moment.
At the moment, these are all the freedoms that have been proposed for Victoria. But hold out for Sunday, where Dan Andrews will unveil a roadmap out of this mess once Victoria reaches 70% and later, 80% double-dose vaccination rates.
We cannot deny, the future is beginning to look a lot brighter vis-à-vis ridding ourselves of lockdown once and for all.