Some COVID-19 limits lifted for Melbourne

Daniel Andrews has announced eased COVID-19 restrictions for Melbourne.
Daniel Andrews has announced eased COVID-19 restrictions for Melbourne.

Melburnians are a little closer to 'COVID normal' with the freedom to travel 25km from home and enjoy unlimited time outdoors under relaxed restrictions to begin on Monday.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the lifting of some virus-enforced limitations after the state recorded just two new infections and no further deaths on Sunday.

Outdoor gatherings will also increase from five people to 10 from two households, while facilities such as skate parks, golf courses and tennis courts will reopen.

Melburnians will be able to get a haircut, see an allied health professional, renovate their home, wash their car and bid at an auction, though a number of strict safety protocols will be in place.

"I have announced today what is safe but will not undermine the sacrifice, the hard work, the pain, the amazing efforts that Victorians have put in," Mr Andrews told reporters on Sunday.

He said Victorians had done an "amazing" job in driving case numbers down from more than 700 in August to single figures for five days in a row.

But he said some businesses will have to wait a little longer for eased restrictions.

"These are not easy decisions to make. There is a lot at stake. And if we do too much too fast, we will be where none of us want to be again, doing this again," Mr Andrews said.

From November 2, hospitality venues will be able to seat 50 people outside and 20 people inside, while retail and beauty and personal care services can resume.

People will be allowed to host a maximum of two people plus dependents at their homes once per day.

"There is some optimism, confidence even, but if things continue this week as they have the last five days, we may be able to bring that forward," Mr Andrews said of the November 2 date.

He urged footy fans not to host AFL grand final parties this year.

"You cannot have friends over into your home. You cannot pretend that it is over because we all desperately want it to be," he said.

For more than 100 days, Melburnians have been under the nation's toughest lockdown, only permitted to travel within a 5km radius of their home and only for a maximum period of one or two hours.

Regional Victoria as been under a different set of restrictions, which will also further ease come Monday.

Up to two people plus dependents will be allowed to visit homes once per day, while hospitality venues can increase their capacity to 70 people outside and 40 people inside.

But the "ring of steel" that separates metropolitan Melbourne from regional Victoria will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

"I would like to have a situation by Christmas where people can travel more freely," the premier said.

Sunday's eased restrictions do not change mandatory mask-wearing whenever Victorians leave home.

Those working in industries reopening will also be required to apply for a permit.

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien restrictions should have been eased further, especially in respect to small businesses.

"Unless you're a hairdresser, there's nothing in this announcement today for small business," he said.

"They're simply being told to keep their doors shut for another fortnight."

A number of business councils have also expressed disappointment in the changes.

Meanwhile, Melbourne's rolling 14-day average has dropped to 7.5 cases, a reduction of 0.6 from Saturday.

Regional Victoria's two-week case average remains at 0.5.

Health authorities continue to investigate Victoria's 15 cases for the fortnight up to Thursday which have no known source.

The latest so-called 'mystery case' is connected to postcode 3081, which takes in Melbourne, Heidelberg West, Heidelberg Heights and Bellfield.

Victoria's death toll from the virus 816 and the national figure is 904.

Australian Associated Press