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After the world’s longest lockdown, Melbourne SMEs will reopen this Friday

After becoming the most locked down city in the world the people of Melbourne, and wider Victoria, will finally begin the process of putting lockdowns in the past and enjoy the easing of restrictions.

The state is expected to reach its in 70 per cent double dose vaccination target later this week and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has determined that at 11.59pm on Thursday 21 October, Victoria will move forward in opening up and more restrictions will be eased.

Although the restrictions will still be tough, with very strict and small capacity regulations, Premier Daniel Andrews said Victorians can begin to look forward again.

“Victorians have sacrificed so much to protect their families, friends and the whole community from coronavirus – and have saved countless lives because of it,” he said

“The milestone we’re about to hit marks a new and hopeful path for the whole state – allowing businesses to reopen and Victorians to get back to things they love.”

In Metropolitan areas most outdoor settings – outdoor cafes, cinemas, and physical recreation facilities like pools – will open with up to 50 people per venue but are subject to density limits and only for those fully vaccinated.

Indoor settings like restaurants and cafes will be able to reopen with up to 20 people indoors with density limits, and only if all attendees – including workers – are fully vaccinated. This is a higher cap than planned in the initial Roadmap and the change has been made after discussions between the sector and the public health team.

In regional Victoria, indoor settings – like restaurants, cafes and gyms – will increase from 10 to 30 people per venue, if everyone is fully vaccinated.

Outdoor venues will increase from 20 to up to 100 people per venue, but only if everyone is fully vaccinated. If vaccination status is unknown, the venue can only have a total of 20 people.

The next milestone in the Roadmap will be when Victoria hits the 80 per cent double dose vaccination target, which is predicted to be the first week of November.

Minister for Health Martin Foley welcomed the announcement, but called on Victorians to maintain the high rate of vaccinations.

“The rate at which Victorians have been getting vaccinated is nothing short of incredible, but if we want to ensure our health system isn’t overwhelmed and our hospitalisation rates aren’t too high as we open up, we need to keep that momentum going. Today is the day to book that vaccine appointment,” he said.

By Andy Young

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