Tag Archives: restrictions

Masks and gathering restrictions return to Melbourne

Story updated 26/05/2021 10:11am

AS OF 6pm on Tuesday, May 25, mandatory mask wearing is back for everyone in metropolitan Melbourne.
Melbourne residents will have new restrictions on private indoor and outdoor gatherings and masks are mandatory — unless with a valid exemption — in indoor settings.
On Wednesday 25, the cluster has grown to 15 active cases with a growing list of exposure sites across Melbourne and in Bendigo.
In the 24 hours between May 25 and May 26, there were 26,180 tests and 15,858 vaccine does administered.
At the Wednesday, May 26 Coronavirus briefing, Acting Premier James Merlino highlighted the importance of getting tested by foreshadowed more restrictions may be on the horizon.

“These new cases underscore the importance of people coming forward for testing”.
“We are concerned by the number and the locations.
“I cannot rule out taking some further action.
“The next 24 hours are going to be critical if we are going to have to make any further changes,” he said.

The restrictions are a reaction to an error in the contract tracing investigation of a Wollert man who, after undergoing hotel quarantine in South Australia, subsequently tested positive in early May.
On the original investigation, the wrong Woolworths supermarket was listed as an exposure site.
As the new cluster — currently at five — is gnomically linked to the earlier Wollert case, and following the correction to the Woolworths exposure site, the new restrictions have been introduced to help contain a potential Coronavirus outbreak.
Presently, private indoor gatherings will be limited to five and private outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30.
Masks will also be mandatory in indoor settings, which expands mandatory masks from public transport, health facilities, airports and ride share vehicles, to indoor spaces such as supermarkets, pubs, wedding venues, and schools.
A present, there are no further restrictions in place.
The Diary asked local supermarket owner Julie Quinton about what these new restrictions mean for her staff and the community.

“We have instructed our staff that it is now mandatory for our staff, from 6pm tonight, to wear masks when working at Quintons IGA.
“So as to help protect them from any possibly infected people.
“We ask that customers please follow the government guidelines and also wear masks when shopping at Quintons, so we may all help protect one another.
“At this stage we will be allowing leniency, however, we will be monitoring the outbreak and may adjust our conditions of entry accordingly.
“We also ask that people check in with the QR code when entering our store, as well as sanitising their hands, observing the electronic customer counter at our door, social distancing and following our one way aisles, to best enable social distancing,” she said.

The good news is all current active cases in this cluster have been linked, but as Melburnians are all too aware of, we still have a long way to go.
The Diary will continue to update this story as more details emerge.

As the cluster grows more exposure sites are added to the list.
Visit the website below for the latest exposure sites:
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites

If you need to get a COVID-19 test, visit the Vic Health website for the latest testing sites and approximate waiting times.
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19

Coronavirus: September 13-28

From midnight on September 13, metro Melbourne begins Step 1 of the State Government’s five step plan to get Victoria out of lockdown.
With curfew still in effect and the majority of Melburnians confined to home overnight, the updated restrictions will effective come into effect at 5am on Monday, September 14.
This is what the next two weeks look like for metro Melbourne, all the activities and restrictions listed below come into effect at 11:59pm on Sunday, September 13 and not before.
Curfew will continue to be a feature of our lives until we reach Step 3, which is currently projected to begin October 26, but the duration of the nightly curfew has been shortened to give Melburnians an extra hour in the evening, meaning curfew is now in effect between 9pm and 5am nightly.
As with conditions of curfew in the preceding six weeks, the only reasons to leave home during curfew are if you have a work permit to do so, or if it is an emergency.
Leaving your home to pick up take-away during curfew is not a permitted reason to leave home.
You are still able to purchase and consume food after 9pm, but by delivery only.

EXTENDED EXERCISE

The five-kilometre bubble will also continue, until we reach Step 3 but a major change is in leaving home to exercise and social bubbles.
The time allocated to exercise, off your premises, has been extended to a maximum of two hours and can be taken in either one or two sessions per day.
The type of activities that you can do, and who with, has also been expanded.
Whereas a feature of the previous six weeks was that, regardless of whether living in the same household or not, you could only exercise outside with one other person, this has been expanded to be either one other person, or the persons who live in the same household with you.
Outdoor playgrounds are allowed to open, but sports facilities and skate parks are still closed and activities such as reading a book or having a picnic in the park are allowed but must be with your household or one other person only.

BUBBLE BUDDIES

For people living on their own and/or single parents, Step 1 introduces the “social bubble” concept.
This additional measure will allow those living on their own to have one other person over in their home.
However, singles need to nominate their social bubble buddy now and must keep the same buddy until we enter Step 3.
You can visit your buddy and they can visit you as often as you like but, if they live in a shared household, then the other householders need to be out whenever you visit them.
Social bubble buddies can also spend the night at each other’s homes, but masks must be worn at all times and travel cannot happen during curfew hours.
However, if you and your bubble buddy are both living in metro Melbourne, the 5km limit does not apply.
This is different to an “intimate partner”, the rules of which continue from Stage 4.
Regional Victoria is still off limits.

NUMBERS IN STEADY DECLINE

When reporting on Saturday’s figures, the Chief Health Officer’s daily update stated the 14-day average for metro Melbourne was at 61.6.
This number is promising, alongside data which shows this is the first time the state has gone seven days with new active cases below 100.
The daily active cases condition for progressing to Step 2 for metro Melbourne is a 14-day average of 30-50 daily active cases and fewer than five per day for Step 3. Regardless of which way the active cases in Victoria go, the slightly relaxed Stage 4 restrictions will likely be in effect until at least September 28, so enjoy the extra hour in the sunshine, stay COVID Safe and look out for further updates in September’s WD Bulletin (Monday, September 21) and October.

The first of many tentative steps

VICTORIAN PREMIER Daniel Andrews today announced some restrictions would be eased as of 11:59pm on Tuesday, May 12.
Following a National Cabinet meeting on Friday and a COVID-19 testing blitz which recorded 160,000 COVID-19 tests in two weeks, the Premier outlined the beginning of the road to a state of “COVID normal”.

“Today – thanks to the efforts of Victorians – I can announce our cautious next steps,” said Mr Andrews.

The Premier went on to say: “from 11:59pm this Tuesday night, there’s now a fifth reason to leave home: visiting friends and family — with a maximum gathering of up to 10 outdoors and having up to five visitors in your home.

“I know this will come as a welcome relief, but I need to be clear — although these are our first steps back towards normalcy — they are not an invitation to host a dinner party every night of the week.
“It’s not about having a rotating roster of acquaintances and associates — or your third best friend from primary school — over for a visit.
“This is about seeing those you need to — if you need to.”

These modified restrictions will be in effect until at least Sunday, May 31, with the State of Emergency being extended until that time.
Under the new restrictions, the following can occur:

  • Outdoor gathers of up to 10 people.
  • Indoor gatherings at home are permitted, with up to five people allowed to visit another household.
  • The ability to leave the house for exercise will be expanded to include outdoor recreational activities.
    These activities can occur in groups of up to 10 people outside, but the requirements on physical distancing remain.
  • 10 guests, plus the couple and the celebrant can now attend weddings.
  • For funerals, 20 people will be allowed at an indoor ceremony and 30 people at an outside ceremony.
    This is in addition to the minimum people required to conduct the funeral.
  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies will be permitted with up to 10 people, plus those required to perform the ceremony

There is also light at the end of the tunnel for grassroots sport.
The measures allow training to take place, with groups of no more than 10 — as long as physical distancing measures and “common sense” are adhered to.
Many clubs will now be waiting for an update from their respective governing bodies before announcing a restart of some sort of training regime.

However, the Premier made it very clear that competition was still off the table.
For many, the way of life in which they have adapted to in the past two months will continue to be the normal for the time being.
With fresh outbreaks in South Korea and Germany, and news from overseas showing huge opposition to the easing of restrictions and change of messaging in the United Kingdom, this pandemic is far from over.
With restrictions easing, it is even more important to be vigilant and practice good hygiene and physical distancing, a sentiment summarised by the Premier in this morning’s statement to the press.

“With more freedom comes more responsibility.
“I’m asking Victorians to use common sense — you should only spend time together if it’s safe.
“And you should only be undertaking these activities if you really need to.
“If it’s integral to your health and wellbeing.
“Use your judgement and think about the health of your fellow Victorians, because right now, staying apart is what’s keeping us together.
“And none of us want to squander everything we’ve achieved, none of us want to have to take a backwards step,” he said.

The State Government reiterated its message that if you can stay home, you should and if you have any symptoms, if you feel unwell in any way, go and get tested.
Drive thru testing clinics will continue to operate at major metropolitan shopping centres which include Eastland in Ringwood and Doncaster Shopping Town.
The Diary will continue to monitor the situation and provide an update in its mid-month bulletin, which will be published on Monday, May 18.

Back to school by June

On Tuesday, May 12, the Premier. Daniel Andrews outlined the plan to move away from remote learning, with Preps, Grades 1 and 2 and Years 11 and 12 scheduled to return to the classroom on May 26.
My Andrews recognised the challenges families had faced and thanked them for following the rules.

“As a father of three kids who have been learning from home, I know this has been a really challenging time for many families but thanks to everyone’s efforts in sticking to the rules and getting tested, we’re now able to start getting our kids back into the classroom.
“Having most of our kids learning from home has made a big contribution to limiting the number of people moving around the community and reduced the spread of the virus,” he said.

Following a pupil free day on Monday, May 25, the shift back to school grounds will begin
Students through Years 3 to 10 will continue to learn remotely until June 9, giving the government and health officials time to evaluate the return to school and to make decisions on how to proceed.
Starting today, all Victorian school staff will be prioritised for voluntary Coronavirus testing for a two-week period from both mobile and fixed testing sites.
This will enable school staff to seek testing during the preparation period before the return to on-site schooling.
Schools will be encouraged to implement a staggered drop-off system to reduce the number of adults congregating outside the school at any one time, as well as staggered break times to manage the number of students mixing across year levels.
Schools will also implement social distancing measures for all adults.
The strict health protocols that are already in place will be followed if a member of the school community tests positive for Coronavirus.
To keep the spread of the virus at bay, the Government is also investing $45m in enhanced, daily cleaning routines that will occur “every day, at every school across the state for all of Term 2 and Term 3”.