Regional Victoria has entered the third step of its coronavirus road to recovery, with locals now allowed to holiday and visit certain outdoor entertainment and attractions.
As of 11:59pm Wednesday, trading restrictions for regional accommodation hotels, caravan parks and campgrounds have been eased, enabling them to welcome regional guests back to their favourite holiday spots.
Regional Victorians are now able to go on holiday in regional Victoria. According to the state government, this includes being able to book accommodation with the people they live with, their intimate partners, or the household they have formed a ‘bubble’ with.
People who live in metropolitan Melbourne cannot go on holiday, yet, and face new fines of up to $4,957 for travelling to regional Victoria.
Travellers originating in regional Victoria, however, can transit through Melbourne to get where they need to go.
Some outdoor entertainment and attractions – including zoos, drive-in cinemas and open-air attractions – will be allowed to resume if they have COVID-safe plans in place and in line with other restrictions, including density limits.
Restrictions will continue to apply to the reasons regional Victorians can travel to metropolitan Melbourne, with the city currently in first step restrictions.
Travellers can only visit metropolitan Melbourne for “care or compassionate reasons”, “permitted work or study”, or for necessary goods or services, if this is the closest service or shop to their homes.
Victoria’s peak tourism accommodation body welcomed the Andrews government’s announcement that trading restrictions in place for regional accommodation hotels would be eased.
Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) Victoria general manager Dougal Hollis said all hoteliers in regional Victoria were pleased to take the first positive steps towards normality.
“Regional Victorians should be congratulated for achieving this significant milestone,” he said.
“Accommodation providers can’t wait to share in their celebrations as people return to their favourite regional hotels to reconnect with family and friends and restore a sense of normality and balance in their lives.”
Hollis said hoteliers appreciated that they had been entrusted with an important responsibility to re-open in a COVID-safe and sustainable way and stand ready to meet this challenge.
“Their success in doing so will instil community confidence and provide a pathway for Melbourne metropolitan accommodation hotels to follow, and hopefully soon regional accommodation providers will again safely be welcoming guests from Melbourne itself,” he said.
TAA national chief executive Michael Johnson said the announcement was great news for hotels in regional Victoria.
“Accommodation providers will cherish the opportunity to reopen for business, re-engage their teams and get back to providing the high standards of hospitality and memorable guest experiences they are renowned for,” he said.
TAA Victoria and the Australian Hotels Association Victoria said they would now work with government to flesh out further details of the announcement and provide operational clarity for Victoria’s regional accommodation hotel network.
Subject to public health advice, from 23 November if Victoria gets to zero new cases state-wide for 14 days, the state will move to the last step of its roadmap to coronavirus recovery.
Following this phase, Victoria will enter ‘COVID Normal’ when there are no new cases for 28 days across the state and no active cases (statewide) and no outbreaks of concern in other states and territories.
Featured image source: iStock/kokkai