The Australian state of Victoria will lift COVID-19 restrictions in regional parts of the state from midnight on Thursday due to low CCP virus case numbers.
Meanwhile, metropolitan Melbourne and the single regional town of Shepparton are still managing serious outbreaks and will remain in lockdown.
From Friday, the five reasons to leave home will end, schools will reopen for Prep to Grade 2 and Year 12 students, and there will be no limit on the distance regional Victorians can travel from home for the eligible regions.
Most businesses and venues will also be able to reopen with capacity and density limits.
But Victorian Premier Dan Andrews warned Victorians that there remained a serious risk of the virus spreading.
“It’s not a snapback. It’s not freedom day. It’s not 100 percent capacity down at the pub,” Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.
“It can’t be. If it is, then we will simply see numbers spread and then we’ll have to close large parts of regional Victoria down again, and perhaps even all of regional Victoria. We don’t want that,” he went on to say.
On the advice of the Chief Health Officer, Regional Victoria’s lockdown will be lifted.
There remains a significant risk of cases seeding, so we all have to continue to work hard to keep regional Victoria, and all of us safe. pic.twitter.com/0vqNEhQfng
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) September 8, 2021
Police will also be out in force to ensure people from metropolitan Melbourne and Shepparton aren’t sneaking into regional Victoria, conducting on the spot checks. Fines for breaching the health orders can be as much as $5,452.
Meanwhile, around 200 Victorian residents trapped on the New South Wales side of the border will be among the first to trial home-based quarantine. This forms part of National Cabinet’s plan to reopen the country.
Any Victorians who have been residing in an NSW Local Government Border Area since at least Aug. 25, will be eligible to apply to return home via the new special exemption permit category: “Victorians in the cross-border community.”
To be eligible for the new category, Victorians will need to provide proof of their residency, evidence of a negative COVID-19 test, and proof they’ve had at least one CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine. The CCP virus is commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
Applicants also need to somehow show evidence with either receipts or QR code check-ins, that they’ve stayed within the border region and have had limited social contact while in NSW.