Member for Morwell Russell Northe has said that today’s announcement of an easing of COVID-19 restrictions by the State Government had been met with some optimism but also disappointment from Regional Victorians.
The Premier’s statement today essentially bought metropolitan Melbourne in line with existing restrictions in Regional Victoria. One of the biggest changes announced today was the abolishment of the metropolitan/regional border which has been in place for many weeks.
“From 11:59pm tonight the 8th November, the “ring of steel” will be no more, and in some respect this will be a positive step for the regional accommodation and hospitality sector from not only receiving more visitors but it also removes the requirement that photo ID be provided prior to any booking, which was causing much consternation” Mr Northe said.
“Whilst much of today centred around Melbourne’s easing of restrictions some important measures will also to apply to Regional Victoria and a number of activities that had previously been prohibited or restricted have been eased including in the entertainment, music and community sectors” Mr Northe continued.
Some of the changes to come into effect from 11:59pm on 8th November include:
Open with patron cap of 20 and group limits of 10, density quotient of 1 per 4m2. Spectators are limited to one parent, guardian or carer only, where child requires supervision.
Open for all purposes with up to 20 people maximum indoors and up to 10 people per space, subject to density quotient of 1 per 4m2. No more than 5 people per space singing or using wind instruments for amateur groups.
Requirement of 5m distance from audience, and 2m between performers. Recommend live music performed outdoors where possible. Performance and rehearsal rules for professionals apply to all live music settings. Performers are excluded from venue cap.
Indoor entertainment venues:
Open: Cinemas; music halls, concert halls and auditoriums; galleries and museums; and State Library of Victoria.
Electronic gaming to equivalent of 25 per cent of indoor hospitality limit of 40 patrons or up to 10 patrons per venue per electronic gaming room. Additional COVID-Safe requirements apply
Creative studios, including venues for art and music:
Up to 10 people per space with 1.5 metres distance between patrons and subject to density quotient 1 per 4m2. No more than 5 people per space singing or using wind instruments for amateur groups.
Hairdressers: Permitted to attend to provide hairdressing service to residents.
Visitor restrictions: Allowed one household to visit a patient in hospital once per day for 2-hours. People aged 16 and under no longer considered excluded persons. Time limit on partner visiting maternity ward removed.
Mr Northe said that whilst it was hoped a further easing of restrictions would occur on 22nd November as intimated by the Premier today, many are feeling the frustration of the impact ongoing restrictions are having.
“Every day is crucial in recovering and repairing the economic, health and emotional damage that has occurred these past months, and when your community has had weeks and weeks of no new or active cases that frustration and disappointment is being felt” Mr Northe said.
“Under the Governments own Roadmap the Last Step was to be implemented when there were no new COVID-19 cases for 14 days state-wide. Today we are at nine days in a row in achieving this goal and we all hope that in five days’ time this threshold would be met. If it is then I can’t see why the Government would further delay its own Last Step provisions if all its own thresholds have been achieved” Mr Northe continued.
“Whilst I understand the Government’s cautiousness about opening up; Regional Victorians have been exceptional in adapting to the severe restrictions imposed and subsequently many communities have had weeks and even months of no new or active cases. So when the Governments own thresholds and requirements have been met, I don’t know why you would want to delay easing restriction for even one day and to help people try and recover from the economic, social and health and well-being toll that so many have endured” Mr Northe concluded.