By Bethany Silverman 

Today, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that the state would ease lockdown restrictions as of 11:59 PM on Tuesday 27 October 2020, after the state recorded zero new cases on Monday 26 October. It’s been 12 weeks since Victorians went into lockdown.

What do you need to know?

Effective from 11:59 PM on 27 October 2020, Metropolitan Melbourne will see significant steps out of lockdown.

The most crucial change coming into effect is that the four reasons to leave your home (being shopping for essentials, caregiving, exercise or work) will be lifted, however, Melbourne residents will still be subjected to the 25-kilometre travel limit and the border between regional Victoria and Greater Melbourne will stay in place.

Businesses re-opening

  • Retail will re-open subject to being COVID Safe. People must maintain 1.5 metres from others;
  • Hospitality will re-open subject to a maximum of 20 people indoors and a maximum of 50 people outdoors;
  • Beauty, personal care and tattooing business can re-open if the service provided allows for the wearing of a face mask from both employees and visitors of the business. Services such as facials, certain face tattoos, lip waxing, or certain face piercings where it is not possible to wear a face mask are not allowed.

Gatherings and events

  • Outdoor community sports for under 18s and outdoor non-contact sport for adults will recommence;
  • Outdoor gatherings remain limited to 10 people, however, the two-household limit will be removed;
  • People of faith will be able to gather up to a maximum of 10 people and one faith leader indoors and a maximum of 20 people and one faith leader outdoors
  • Weddings will be increased to 10 people while funerals will increase to 20 mourners

Home visits

The Premier announced that he would provide guidance regarding the rules around home visits by 27 October 2020, to also come into effect from 11:50 PM 27 October 2020, however, Andrews did warn home visits must still be treated with caution. 

Next steps  

Andrews announced that the next step out of lockdown will come into effect on 8 November 2020 with the 25km travel limit and the border between Melbourne and regional Victoria to be lifted.

Other number limits on gatherings, pub limits, weddings and funerals will also be increased in line with regional Victoria. These major changes include:

  • Hospitality – a maximum of 40 people indoors and a maximum of 70 people outdoors;
  • Religious gatherings – a maximum of 20 people plus one faith leader indoors and a maximum of 50 people plus one faith leader outdoors;
  • Funerals – maximum of 20 mourners indoors and a maximum of 50 mourners outdoors;
  • Indoor community sport – non-contact sport for under 18s;
  • Indoor pools – will open for all ages with a maximum of 20 people.

In addition, gyms and fitness centres will be able to re-open with a maximum of 20 people, however, Andrews cautioned that the date is not set in stone and is subject to change depending on new COVID-19 cases.

Other notes

Employees are allowed to attend their work immediately in a ‘dark-opening’ to prepare for re-opening from 11:59 PM 27 October 2020.

It is important to note that the advice around people working from home remains unchanged. That is, the Premier has made clear that people who can work from home, still need to work from home.

Requirements to wear a face mask in public remain in place and this is likely to be a feature of the State’s COVID Normal.

Businesses must ensure they have a COVID Safe Plan in place and should seek specific advice from Business Victoria of the Department of Health and Human Services in relation to re-opening.

If your business has a coronavirus-related query, please contact the HR Assured team.

Bethany Silverman is a qualified Workplace Relations Consultant at HR Assured. She regularly engages businesses in matters of compliance and best practice. She has a particular interest in the performance management process.