Victoria ends lockdown, skiers require negative Covid test to visit resorts

Mt Buller. Photo credit: Mt Buller media

A range of restrictions will ease across Victoria tonight, following a reduction in community transmission of coronavirus in Victoria.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has advised that the lockdown will be lifted state-wide from 11.59pm tonight.

Victorians will be able to leave their homes for any reason. Restaurants and cafes can also reopen for seated service. Retail and beauty and personal care will open in line with density limits, as will entertainment venues and community facilities.

The Authorised Worker List will no longer apply, meaning businesses and venues can reopen with capacity and density limits of 1 person per 4sqm. Victoria will return to the rule that ‘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.

Kids can get back to the classroom with schools reopening for onsite learning to all students from tomorrow. Public gatherings will be allowed with up to 10 people, with infants under 12 months not included in the cap.

However, due to the significant transmission risk throughout the pandemic, gatherings in the home are still not permitted. People will only be able to book accommodation with their household, intimate partner or single bubble person.

People will be free to visit ski fields again, but due to the higher risk in these settings entry to Victoria’s alpine resorts will require a COVID test and receipt of a negative result within 72 hours prior to visiting. Children under 12 years of age are not required to be tested.

Live music venues, dance classes and physical recreation facilities, including gyms, will all open with density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm.

A maximum of 50 people will be permitted at weddings. Funerals will also have a cap of 50 mourners, plus those conducting the funeral. Infants under 12 months are not included in the cap for either.

Masks will continue to be required everywhere indoors and outdoors (except private residences), unless an exception applies. Results from a recent Burnet Institute study show that masks played a huge role in slowing the spread of the virus in 2020 – and they will be an important part of our defences against the virus for some time to come.

While case numbers in Sydney remain high, changes will also be made to tighten the cross-border bubble with NSW. The City of Wagga Wagga, Hay Shire Council, Lockhart Shire Council and Murrumbidgee Council will no longer be included in the cross border bubble.

These local government areas will be included under the Extreme Risk Zone from 11:59pm tonight, in line with the rest of NSW and residents will need a Specified Worker Permit, transit permit, or an exemption to enter Victoria.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.