Victorian galleries, libraries, zoos and more to reopen as restrictions continue to ease

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Victorian galleries, libraries, zoos and more to reopen as restrictions continue to ease

Words by Kate Streader

June will see some semblance of normalcy return as cultural and recreational centres and activities resume.

Premier Dan Andrews has announced the next phase for easing social distancing restrictions in Victoria, with plans to reopen a range of cultural and recreational centres and over the next week.

As of Tuesday May 26, to coincide with the return of face-to-face learning in schools, outdoor playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor communal gym equipment will reopen, the Premier revealed this morning.

Restrictions will ease even further on June 1, at which point you’ll be allowed to have a total of 20 people in your home, counting visitors as well as those who live in the home. The cap on outdoor gatherings will also be increased to 20 people.

June 1 will also see overnight stays permitted, both at private residences and in accommodation. This will include campgrounds and caravan parks, though communal facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms will remain closed.

Limits on significant ceremonies will also be increased to allow 20 guests at weddings, not including the couple and celebrant, and 50 people at funerals, plus those required to conduct the ceremony. Religious ceremonies will be allowed to host 20 people in addition to those performing the service.

As for cultural activities, venues such as galleries, museums, drive-in cinemas, historic sites, zoos and outdoor amusement parks will be allowed to reopen as of June 1. Physical distancing rules will be in place, with a limit of 20 people per space. Indoor venues will be required to keep contact details for all visitors.

Swimming pools, community sporting activities – provided the sport is outdoors, non-contact, and allows players to remain 1.5 metres apart – will be able to resume, too, along with the reopening of libraries, youth centres and other community facilities.

Beauty and personal care services including spas, nail salons and tattoo parlours will be permitted to open, with no more than 20 customers allowed per space. Non-food and drink market stalls will also be able to resume.

However, the Premier has firmly stated that anyone able to continue working from home will need to do so until the government says otherwise.

“One of our most important messages to Victorians is this: if you are working from home, you must keep working from home,” said Andrews.

“I understand there’ll be questions about why you can go to the pub or the park – but not the office. But the health advice on this is very clear.

“We just can’t afford to have millions of people moving around our state – taking public transport or using the communal kitchen. Let alone when you think about the logistical challenges of getting people in and out of lifts or lobbies,” he said.

The restrictions will be reevaluated next month and may be relaxed further on June 22 if community transmission rates remain low and testing rates remain high. The Premier hopes that come the end of next month, indoor fitness and recreation facilities will reopen with 20 people, or ten people per group activity, and 50 people will be allowed to visit cafes, restaurants, galleries and museums.

Next month will hopefully also see cinemas and theatres reopened.

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