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Victorian Premier announces plan for state’s reopening
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a plan for economic activity in the state to reopen as of late October as vaccination rates rise.
Speaking yesterday, Premier Andrews said Melbourne’s lockdown will be significantly lifted once 70% of Victorian adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which is expected to occur around 26th October.
Sticking to key elements of the National Plan for reopening, once the vaccinations milestone is reached, restrictions of leaving home and curfew will be ditched, people will be allowed to travel 25 kilometres from home and there will be a return to outdoor dining and drinking.
However, further substantial changes to Victoria’s restrictions, including the opening of aquatic facilities, entertainment venues, gyms and sports centres, won’t be made until 80% of over-16s are immunised, forecast to occur about 5th November.
Premier Andrews announcement suggested that by Christmas, family members will be able to gather at home in groups of up to 30 people, an increase from 10 house guests that will be permitted when the 80% vaccination target is met.
Unveiling Victoria’s “cautious” roadmap out of lockdown, Premier Andrews said it would be a difficult time for the state’s health system but there was “no turning back” and that restrictions would be eased in a staggered and measured way.
Premier Andrews stated “we are opening up - be in no doubt about that”.
“It is absolutely possible that 2,000 to 3,000-plus patients are in hospital and we have to fundamentally change the way we deliver health services. We only have so many nurses and doctors … so that stress will be there. We’ve got to do everything we can so they’re not overwhelmed.”
According to the roadmap, when 80% of the eligible population has received a single vaccine dose, outdoor tennis, golf and other contactless sports can resume, and personal training sessions will be expanded to five people outdoors, provided they are fully vaccinated.
Outdoor gatherings can increase to a maximum of 10 fully vaccinated people or five unvaccinated, while outdoor pools, community facilities and sport can return with a cap of 50 vaccinated people.
Creative studios, amusement parks, entertainment venues and hospitality will also reopen with patron cap and density limits - but only to people who are fully vaccinated.
Once 80% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated, retail, hairdressing and beauty services, and childcare can reopen for the fully vaccinated, with strict density limits, and hospitality can return indoors. Melbourne and regional Victoria will move to the same set of restrictions.
Commenting on the reopenings on social media, Mel Tempest, owner of the Ballarat Body & Soul Genesis 24/7 gym wrote that the “road map announcement envisages gyms not opening in Victoria until November with density limits in place.
“I see (this) as positive news; we now have approximate dates - it gives us something to work with, it allows us to plan the next six to eight weeks.
“I prefer this than to be left in limbo, I can now guide my team and those I work alongside (and) hopefully, Ballarat will come out of lockdown this week to allow 10 inside and 20 outside.”
Tempest, who has previously called for better representation for the fitness industry in regional Victoria, added “my only ask now is that state government talks to people like me who own clubs, clubs that service natural communities of all shapes and sizes, clubs with several different business models under one roof, talk to people like me who work in the industry daily on many different levels.
“As gyms prepare to be an industry that will likely require vaccinated teams and possibly 90% vaccinated consumers, I would like to have input into how this policy would be created.
“The state government needs to understand the depth of club operations; we need to be part of that strategy and not bystanders.
“The fitness industry is a self-regulated industry with several peak associations … its time to speak to those that matter.”
Gyms and indoor pools to reopen in regional Victoria
Announcements made by Premier Andrews as of last Thursday, advised that as of 11.59pm on Friday (17th September), gyms and indoor pools in regional Victoria can reopen with limits, and hydrotherapy and swimming lessons can go ahead. Spas, saunas and steam rooms will not reopen.
Indoor pools can have up to 20 people and 50 can swim in outdoor pools, while indoor physical recreation facilities, such as gyms, can open with 10 people.
As of today, Greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire are entering a seven-day lockdown, meaning the regions will be under the same restrictions as Melbourne excluding the nightly curfew.
Click here for more information on Victoria’s Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan.
Images: Melbourne's Yarra River and Crown Casino (top) and Victoria's latest lockdowneasing measures as applied to active recreation (below).
24th August 2021 - Genesis Health and Fitness partners with industry influencer Mel Tempest
1st September 2021 - AFL’s Perth Grand Final will not feature fans and media from NSW and Victoria
18th August 2021 - Victorian Government provides more support to live performance sector
10th August 2021 - Mt Buller reopens for snow lovers from regional Victoria
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