‘We can’t ease restrictions’: Melbourne lockdown rules won’t change until September 23

‘We can’t ease restrictions’: Melbourne lockdown rules won’t change until September 23

Melbourne lockdown continues
Words by Lucas Radbourne

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed the five kilometre radius and curfew will be extended until September 23, with no major changes to current lockdown rules.

The Victorian government was anticipated to make multiple key changes to Melbourne’s lockdown rules at today’s press conference but instead has advised that case numbers are too high to ease restrictions.

Victoria recorded 120 case numbers yesterday, a new record since the second lockdown. The only ease in restrictions that Andrews announced was that playgrounds across Melbourne will reopen after significant pressure from families and news reporting around the potential affect on children.

The state is depending on vaccination rates to hit 70% of first doses before any changes come into effect.

What you need to know

  • Playgrounds to reopen but all other lockdown restrictions to remain
  • The state government has flagged September 23 as a potential future date to ease restrictions
  • Victoria recorded 120 cases overnight, a significant jump on the previous day

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

Curfews, a two-hour exercise time limit and a five-kilometre radius for leaving your home remain in place, and Andrews says nothing is likely to change until September 23, when the state is on track to have 70% of its population vaccinated with at least one dose.

“The health officer’s advice to us has fundamentally changed,” Daniel Andrews told the daily press conference. “We will not see these case numbers come down, they are going to go up. The question is, by how much.

“We can’t ease restrictions today in any profound way. We are in for a difficult time over these coming weeks. It’s not possible to have a freedom day in the next few weeks, that will require us to hit our vaccination targets.

“We’ve prevented around 6000 cases…and about 600 people going to hospital. We are confident by the time we reach September 23, we may be able to…make some changes to these rules.”

The rule changes that Andrews outlined for September 23 include expanding the five kilometre radius to 10 kilometres and extending the time to exercise from two hours to three hours.

He also said that outdoor gym equipment and skate parks will reopen, and outdoor personal training of up to two people will be able to recommence. Real estate private inspections can also begin again, and construction sites will increase to 50% of capacity, once the state hits that 70% first dose threshold.

“From midnight tomorrow night, the chief health officer has advised playgrounds can reopen,” Andrews continued. “With the exception of Shepparton, we will be able to end the lockdown in the rest of regional Victoria next week.

“But there will be substantial restrictions on what can occur and no one, except those authorised, will be able to go to regional Victoria from metropolitan Melbourne.”

You can watch the Victorian government’s daily press conference here.