Victoria’s Christmas restrictions revealed

The Victorian government has revealed the latest steps out of lockdown with a wave of restrictions to ease, including the number of people residents can welcome into their homes for Christmas.

From midnight on December 13 Victorians will be allowed to welcome up to 30 people into their homes, just in time for Christmas and Hanukkah, Premier Daniel Andrews revealed on Sunday.

"I'm pleased to be able to announce a number of steps that will take us towards that COVID-safe summer," he said.

"What will Christmas 2020 look like? I can confirm that from 11:59pm on Sunday, December 13, 30 visitors will be allowed to your home. That is 30 across the course of a day. That is not 30 for lunch and 30 for dinner, it is 30 across the course of the day."

He said that was a "big step forward" and it was hard to imagine getting to this stage four months ago.

"It is also very important to acknowledge that Christmas and those end of year family get-togethers and functions are not just for Christmas Day, they are in that latter part of the year," he said.

"So 30 people, 30 visitors to your home. Dependants are counted as part of the 30 unless it is a baby under the age of one year."

The Premier also outlined a spate of other major rule changes to come into effect from midnight Sunday.

From 11:59pm, rules around mask wearing will be loosened and private gatherings will be increased from two visitors per household to 15.

Up to 50 people will be allowed to gather outside.

Masks will no longer be mandatory while outside. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Masks will no longer be mandatory while outside. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

Premier Andrews fronted the media on Sunday to outline the changes which include scrapping regulations around mandatory mask wearing.

Instead, Victorian residents will be allowed to ditch their mask when they venture outside so long as social distancing is possible.

But they will still be required to wear them indoors and in crowded settings, prompting the Premier to urge Victorians to continue carrying one with them.

"To give you a fairly common sense example … if you go to Bunnings and you are inside the store, you are wearing a mask," Mr Andrews said.

"If you are in the car park, you do not have to wear your mask.

"But if you are queuing up for a sausage, and you are with other people, and you are simply not keeping a distance (when) you are part of a crowd … you need to put the mask on."

Other changes include increasing patronage at indoor gyms from 20 to 150 and weddings and funerals will soon be allowed to have 150 attendees - depending on the venue size.

Outdoor sport has been given the green light with up to 500 people - in groups of 50 - allowed to take part in sporting events. But only 150 can take part if it's indoors.

The same goes for restaurants, cafes, bars with up to 150 allowed indoors, with a total capacity of 300 including outdoors. However, only 50 people will be allowed inside smaller venues.

The limits at community centres, galleries, cinemas, libraries and places of worship will increase to groups of no more than 20 people, with the total number of patrons capped at 150.

"Religious ceremonies can take place indoors with 150 people and outdoors with 300 people," Mr Andrews said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will address the media later on Sunday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will address the media later on Sunday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

While 15 people will be allowed to enter someone's home from midnight Sunday, the Premier said this does not mean Victorians can have 15 people over for lunch and another 15 for dinner.

"That is 15 across the course of the day," he confirmed.

"What we have seen in Adelaide, what we have seen all over the world, and certainly here some months ago, is that gatherings in the family home can be the most dangerous."

Outdoor pools can host up to 300 people and 150 swimmer indoors - but there will be density requirements.

Victorians will be encouraged to continue working from home but 25 percent of employees can return to their workplace from November 30 - but they must be nominated by their employer.

The Premier said he will reveal the next wave of changes on December 6, which will give Victorians a better idea of what Christmas will look like.

The latest announcement comes after the state recorded 23 days of no new cases or deaths from COVID-19.

There's only one known active case left in the state.

Originally published as Victoria's Christmas restrictions revealed



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