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Regional Victoria lockdown to lift this week, except Greater Shepparton

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Lockdown restrictions will be lifted in regional Victoria from tomorrow night, following advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

From 11.59pm on Thursday 9 September, the five reasons to leave the home will be removed in regional Victoria, except for Greater Shepparton. There will be no limit on the distance regional Victorians can travel from home – other than restrictions on entry to metropolitan Melbourne.

The Authorised Worker list will no longer apply in the regions, meaning most businesses and venues can reopen with capacity and density limits. Regional Victorians will return to the rule ‘if you can work from home, you should work from home’ but office workers will be able to return up to 25 per cent or up to 10 people, whichever is greater.

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Private gatherings remain not permitted, but public gatherings are allowed with groups of up to 10.

Outdoor playgrounds, communal gym equipment and skateparks will open. Outdoor personal training is allowed with up to 10 people and a trainer, while community sport is permitted to host outdoor training only with the minimum number required to train. Spectators are prohibited except one parent permitted to supervise children.

Outdoor-only community recreation facilities may open with up to 20 people per facility. Outdoor pools may open with up to 50 people.

Regional schools will reopen for onsite learning for Prep to Grade 2 and Year 12 students who live in regional Victoria, while remote learning will remain for all other levels. Onsite supervision at schools remains available for vulnerable children and children of essential workers in all year levels, including for students from metropolitan Melbourne.

Early learning centres, kindergarten, childcare, family day care will open for regional Victorian children, and children of metropolitan Melbourne authorised workers, single parents and vulnerable children. Childcareworkers moving between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria will be subject to twice weekly PCR testing.

Funerals will be permitted for up to 20 people and weddings will be permitted for up to 10 people, plus those required to conduct the service. Stricter limits will be in place for both weddings and funerals with people from Melbourne in attendance.

Restaurants and cafes can reopen for seated service with patron caps. Retail, hairdressing, entertainment venues and community facilities will also open in line with density limits and patron caps. Masks will continue to be required indoors and outdoors, apart from private residences, unless an exception applies.

Religious gatherings and ceremonies are permitted with up to 20 persons per venue (and those workers necessary to conduct the ceremony).

All beauty and personal care may open with a cap of 10, and masks must remain on for duration of service.

While restrictions remain in metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria Police will significantly expand their operation along the metropolitan border. Police will also be out in force in regional areas conducting spot checks to ensure people from metropolitan Melbourne are not in the regionals are not unless for authorised reasons. The fine for breaching the Chief Health Officer’s directions is $5,452.

Travel and accommodation are open to people who live in regional area, but bookings only permitted for single households, intimate partners or single bubbles.

Travel to regional Victorian Alpine Resorts is permitted provided visitors have had a negative COVID test within the previous 72 hours. Children under 12 years not included.

Premier Daniel Andrews did not signal when Greater Shepparton’s lockdown would lift, and thanked the community for getting tested and vaccinated.

“We thank every member of the Shepparton community who has worked so hard to bring the outbreak there under control. If everyone keeps getting tested and supporting their friends and family to isolate when needed, then we hope Shepparton will soon be able to join the rest of regional Victoria in easing restrictions.”

The state recorded 221 new locally acquired cases today, while 61.6 per cent of the eligible Victorian population has now received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. 38.3 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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