The state government on Sunday released a barrage of information about the much-heralded road map out of lockdown, but what does it mean to us? Many questions remain about what Melburnians will be allowed and not allowed to do for the next few month. We’ve attempted to answer a few.
Do we still have to wear masks?
Afraid so. The wearing of masks remains mandatory for Victorians in public, and no date has been set for the end of their use.
Can I get my hair cut?
Unruly, long grey hair may become a trend, because hairdressers can’t open for another seven weeks – after October 26, and only then, provided that the daily average number of COVID-19 cases, and the number of cases with an unknown source, descend to the government-set level for the restriction to ease.
When can I go back to the office?
Not for quite a while. Offices are closed until after October 26, except for people in permitted roles, conditional on case numbers being down and, even then, workers must still work from home or a single site where it is “reasonably practicable”.
Can my children go back to school?
Subject to meeting case number and transmission rate targets children in prep to grade 2, VCE/VCAL (year 10 – 12) students and specialist school students will return to school in term 4, which starts on October 5.
After October 26, there may be a staged return for onsite learning for grade 3 to year 10 students, subject to public health advice.
Can I have friends or relatives over?
From 11.59pm on September 13, single Victorians, or single mothers with a child under 18, will be able to have one nominated home visitor. From October 26, for all households, visitors (up to five people) will be allowed at home from one other household. After November 23, up to 20 visitors at a time will be allowed in the home.
It will only be when COVID Normal is declared – no new cases for 28 days and no active cases (state-wide) and no outbreaks of concern in other states and territories that there will be no restrictions on visitors at home.
Can I sit in a restaurant or cafe?
Restaurants and cafes are are currently open for takeaway and delivery only and it won’t be until after October 26, subject to the government’s COVID-19 case and transmission goals being met, that they will open for predominantly outdoor seated service only with a group limit of 10 and density limits. After November 23, health department permitting, hospitality outlets will be open for up to 50 patrons.
When can I go clothes shopping in person?
Until at least October 26, the only retail shops permitted to be open are those classed as essential, with non-essential outlets able to offer click and collect. After October 26, non-essential shops can re-open.
When can I go to the gym?
Gym junkies will continue to crave their fitness fix for more than a month longer, because gyms, fitness centres and studios will remain closed until at least October 26, and when they do open, there will be restrictions on staff and patron numbers and density.
Can I sell my house at auction?
From October 26, private inspections will be allowed, but by appointment only, and outdoor auctions will be allowed, subject to limits on gathering numbers. It’s hoped that by November 23, the real estate industry will be operating more normally, with safety measures and record-keeping requirements.
When can I go to a museum or gallery?
These may be able to re-open by November 23, albeit heavily restrictions in operations, with caps on patron numbers?.
What about libraries?
These can operate with contactless collection and delivery until at least October 26, when they may be able to open, on a heavily restricted basis, with limited staff and patron numbers.
When can I go to the cinema?
Those craving to see a movie, or live performing arts or live music, will have to wait until at least after November 23, if there are no new COVID-19 cases for 14 days, and then only seated venues will be allowed, with caps on patrons.
When can my house cleaner return?
This service is currently permitted only for people with age, disability illness or chronic health condition or other medical reasons, until at least October 26, when it will be permitted with a COVID-Safe plan.
Can I go to the pool?
After September 28, if cases remain at between 30 to 50 per day on average, pools will reopen.
What’s the rule on weddings?
From September 13, weddings will be allowed on compassionate grounds, with up to five people present, including the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant.
Should Health department targets on cases and transmission be met, from October 26, up to 10 people will be allowed at weddings, including the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant. From November 23, weddings may be allowed with 50 people present, including the couple, two witnesses and the, celebrant but if the ceremony is being held in a private residence, only 20 people will be allowed.
What about funerals?
Currently up to 10 people are allowed at a funeral, not including infants up to 12 months of age. It’s estimated this will remain the same until October 26, when 20 people will be allowed. By the Last Step, November 23, the aim is that 50 people can attend.
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Carolyn Webb is a reporter for The Age.