Victoria has celebrated its second consecutive day without a new coronavirus case.
Today marks the first time since the start of March where Victoria has recorded such a feat, while Monday, which was marked as the state’s first ‘donut day’, also represented the first time in 139 days that Victoria recorded a day without a coronavirus case.
Today's a good day. pic.twitter.com/66Hk2dmNwk
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) October 26, 2020
Look what I just arrived home to. Well done Victoria. What an amazing State we live in and what an amazing achievement by all. Thank you. 🍩🍺 pic.twitter.com/Kv3vPKwiF5
— Chief Health 🍩fficer, Victoria (@VictorianCHO) October 26, 2020
As a result, newly eased restrictions will soon come to effect.
Melbourne will move out of lockdown and into the third step of the state’s roadmap to COVID normal, which from midnight tonight will see the city move from ‘stay home’ to ‘stay safe’, with no more restrictions on the reasons to leave home.
The capital city’s cafes, restaurants and pubs will also be able to reopen – outdoors with a limit of up to 50, indoors of up to 20. Density limits, record keeping and COVID-safe plans also apply.
Speaking to the press today, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he will be discussing state border closures with his counterparts interstate.
Andrews said he will be encouraging Victorians to holiday and spend money within the state, but will discuss options with South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in coming weeks, according to the Australian Financial Review.
Andrews told the press he will speak to Tasmanian leader Peter Gutwein, too.
“I expect I’ll have some conversations with other premiers later on this week,” he said.
From 8 November, if Victoria can continue driving case numbers down, the 25-kilometre limit will come off and Melbourne will be able to meet regional Victoria at the same level.
The capacity of pubs and restaurants would also increase, with up to 40 inside and 70 outside.
Tourism industry reacts
The Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) welcomed Victoria’s announcement of reopening from Wednesday as a move that would provide certainty to businesses and provide confidence nationally.
“Following zero new cases in Victoria, this is a common-sense decision by the state government who are managing the risk rather than the emergency and beginning to open up safely,” TTF chief executive Margy Osmond said.
“After this milestone moment at midnight … and the additional easing of restrictions slated to arrive next week (from Sunday 8 November), the next sensible step is to announce the removal of Victorian border travel restrictions well ahead of Christmas.
“Fresh Newgate Research data for the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) shows that 77 per cent of Victorians want to see borders completely open by Christmas – up from 69 per cent the week before.”
However, both the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) warned that the rule of a maximum of 20 patrons inside a venue would not be viable for many of the state’s bars, hotels, pubs, and taverns.
Despite the positive step forward for Victoria, the AHA claimed many as 75 per cent of the state’s pubs would remain closed. While the TAA warned of further job losses if indoor patron limits and restrictions on people movement remain in place.
Moreover, the sentiments echo that of the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC), a branch of the Australian Tourism Industry Council, which called for a hard-reopening date to be set to preserve businesses.
However, the TTF, which Travel Weekly yesterday reported had joined forces with VTIC to call for Victoria to provide a $1.3 billion stimulus, emphasised the importance of the continuation of JobKeeper.
Featured image source: YouTube/ABC News (Australia)