‘The bubble is gone’: Here’s how the rules are changing in regional Victoria

Regional Victoria is taking another step towards ‘COVID normal’.New rules mean there are more opportunities to welcome visitors to your home, and cafes and restaurants can increase their capacity.But rather than removing the border with metropolitan Melbourne, as some families and businesses had hoped for, Premier Daniel Andrews said the Government would actually strengthen the “ring of steel” around the city.That means there will be more checkpoints, and more vehicles pulled over, to ensure drivers have a permitted reason to travel.”That will not be there forever and we will have freedom of movement within our state when it is safe to do so — but that is not now,” Mr Andrews said.”We want people in Melbourne to stay in Melbourne. Follow the rules and get the [coronavirus] numbers in Melbourne as low as they are in regional Victoria, then we will all be able to move freely around our state.” The Premier says more checkpoints will be established to limit travel between Melbourne and regional areas.(ABC News: Patrick Rocca)Here’s what is changing in regional Victoria from Monday.Visiting friends and familyPeople in regional Victoria can invite two people, plus their dependents, to their home.This replaces the social bubble, which has been scrapped.It means you could invite a different family to your house each day, capped at two adults and any dependent children or adults who cannot be left alone.”The bubble is gone,” Mr Andrews said. “You can have as many different families visit you but they can only be two adults and dependents at a time, per day.”One household will also be allowed to visit a patient or resident in a care facility, for up to two hours.But there could be some different restrictions at times, depending on the circumstances of the resident and the individual facility.LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic.Increased capacity for hospitalityCafes and restaurants in regional Victoria will be allowed to double the number of patrons they seat indoors, from 20 to 40.Individual bookings will still be capped at 10 people and each group must be seated at least 1.5 metres away from others.There will also be a cap of 10 diners per indoor space and it will be subject to density rules of no more than one person per 4 square metres.Businesses must continue to check that customers live in regional Victoria.Outdoor spaces will also be able to hold more people — up to 70 patrons per venue, as long as they comply with a one person per 2 square metres density requirement.Food courts are still restricted to takeaway and delivery only. The Government is encouraging more outdoor dining, where the risk of coronavirus transmission is lower.(ABC News: Billy Draper)Sport and recreationIndoor pools can reopen for people aged 18 and under, including for swimming lessons, but will be capped at a maximum of 20 swimmers.One-on-one hydrotherapy sessions will also be allowed indoors, if accompanied by a health professional.Libraries and toy libraries can reopen for a maximum of 20 people, with no more than 10 people per space.From November 1 some junior indoor sport can resume in regional Victoria.This is limited to non-contact activities, such as dance classes and trampolining, which can be done at a distance of 1.5 metres from others.Spectators will be limited to one parent or guardian if a child requires supervision, and all activities will be capped at 20 people.Religious gatherings, weddings and funeralsOutdoor religious gatherings can increase to 20 people.This will increase to 50 people from November 1.The number of people allowed at weddings and funerals has not changed, and remains at 10 and 20 respectively.Bushfire and flood preparationWhile people living in regional Victoria are already free to travel to other regional areas, those living in Melbourne have been prevented from visiting their holiday homes or second properties.But with bushfire season around the corner, and the weather bureau warning of possible flooding in some parts of the state, Mr Andrews has announced a process to allow essential preparation to be undertaken.Regional councils will begin issuing fire prevention notices from Wednesday, which will allow Melburnians to travel to regional properties in need of fire or flood prevention.But while they’re there they will have to comply by the rules that apply in Melbourne, meaning no dining in restaurants, no long holidays and no accessing beauty services.Loading…

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