Regional Victoria is about to leave COVID-19 lockdown. Here's what's changing

People will have greater freedoms in regional areas, including Geelong. (ABC News: Steven Schubert)

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced restrictions will ease across regional Victoria, with the exception of Greater Shepparton, from 11:59pm Thursday night.

The five reasons to leave home will no longer apply. Here's what else is changing across regional Victoria.

Where can you go?

  • Travel will be allowed around regional Victoria, except Greater Shepparton, with no distance limit

  • But movement between metropolitan Melbourne and the regions is restricted

  • Public outdoor gatherings will be allowed with a maximum of 10 people

  • People aged 12 and over must show evidence of a COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours as a condition of entry to ski fields at Alpine resorts

  • Outdoor tours will be capped at 20 people

  • Regional accommodation providers will only be allowed to take bookings from people who live in the same household, or intimate partners and single-bubbles

Regional Victorians will be allowed to travel to other regional areas but there are restrictions on shared accommodation bookings. (ABC News: Steven Schubert)

What's happening with schools?

  • Regional early learning centres, kindergartens, childcare and family day care centres will open for regional children and metropolitan children who are vulnerable or whose parents are single or essential workers

  • Schools will reopen to children in Prep to Year 2, Year 11s studying Year 12 subjects, and Year 12 students

  • Other year levels will continue learning remotely

  • Teachers and child care workers moving between Melbourne and the regions must undergo twice weekly COVID-19 tests

Can weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies go ahead?

  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies, including funerals, are permitted with up to 20 people per venue

  • Weddings are allowed with no more than 10 people

  • Workers necessary to conduct those ceremonies do not count toward those caps, nor do children under 12 months old at weddings and funerals

Can I have visitors to my home?

No. The easing of restrictions does not allow in-home visits in regional Victoria. 

The intimate partner and single-person bubble exemptions continue.

Masks must still be worn indoors and outdoors by people aged 12 or older, unless they have an exemption or are at home or visiting an intimate partner.

It's also recommended primary-school-aged children wear masks.

Can I dine out, go shopping or get a haircut?

Hospitality venues can reopen, but with limits.

Seated service will be capped at 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors.

However, food courts remain restricted to take-away only and masks cannot be removed for eating and drinking in retail settings.

General retail will reopen with a density limit of one person per 4 square metres, and QR check-ins will be mandatory.

Function centres and business conference centres can also reopen with a limit of 20 people per space.

All beauty and personal care services will reopen with limits of 10 people per space, and masks must be worn throughout the service.

What about physical activity and sport?

Community sports training can resume but only outdoors with the minimum number required to train, and no spectators.

Personal training must be outdoors and will be capped at 10 people.

Playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor communal exercise equipment can reopen but gyms will remain closed.

Outdoor pools will be capped at 50 people.

Community sports teams can train with minimum numbers of participants. (Supplied: Kavina-Leeor United Football Club)

Entertainment

Indoor, fixed-seated entertainment and non-seated indoor venues will be capped at 20 people per space.

Amusement parks, drive-in cinemas and outdoor entertainment venues can also reopen with larger caps.

Karaoke venues, nightclubs and brothels remain closed.

Retail betting and electronic gaming venues can reopen with strict density limits and check-in requirements.

Real estate

Auctions will resume with a limit of 10 people.

Private inspections will also be capped at 10 people, plus the real estate agent.

People travelling from metropolitan Melbourne into regional Victoria can expect to be pulled over, Premier Daniel Andrews says.

How will metro-regional travel be monitored?

Premier Daniel Andrews said there would be a "very significant boost" to enforcement of the regional-metropolitan border to prevent incursions of the virus.

The Victorian government will seek support from the Australian Defence Force to police travel between the city and country.

"If you are travelling into regional Victoria, you can expect to be pulled over," Mr Andrews said.

"It won't necessarily be every single car, but there'll be number plate recognition technology used, there will be a static presence of Victoria Police at different parts on major roads.

"It won't be as predictable as a completely static checkpoint but if you don't have a lawful reason to go to regional Victoria, please don't go to regional Victoria.

"You'll take the virus with you."

Greater Shepparton will remain in lockdown, with an announcement expected next week about its restrictions easing. (AAP: Daniel Pockett)

What's likely to happen with Greater Shepparton?

Mr Andrews said the government was hopeful Greater Shepparton would fall into line with the rest of regional Victoria next week.

"We will make those announcements as soon as we have tidied up the last bits of the outbreak there," the Premier said.

"The Goulburn Valley community has done an amazing job and I thank everybody who has volunteered, everybody who has isolated at home."

And if regional Victoria has further outbreaks?

Five new cases were announced in regional Victoria on Wednesday, from the Moorabool Shire on Melbourne's fringe to Mildura in the far north-west.

Mr Andrews said if any regional outbreaks develop, "it will be our practice to have a series of focused and targeted series of measures".

He said the plan to implement localised health responses meant it was very important for people to get tested as soon as they feel sick, and vaccinated as fast as they can.


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