Victorians are waking up to the first day of freedom as COVID-19 lockdowns in the state are officially over.
Some eager Melburnians queued late on Tuesday to be the first through the doors of their favourite restaurants and pubs, to coincide with coronavirus restrictions easing at 11.59pm.
Hospitality workers had rushed to make preparations on Tuesday after Premier Daniel Andrews announced venues could host up to 50 people outdoors and 20 indoors.
City residents wasted no time “getting on the beers”.
Angus & Bon in Melbourne’s south-east was one of the first restaurants to welcome back customers, serving patrons at the stroke of midnight.
Owner Liam Ganley said he felt a “massive relief” after opening his doors to a queue of “very excited” customers.
“The atmosphere was electric. People were dying to get back on the beer,” he told The New Daily.
Shops in Melbourne are also reopening and people who run home business, such as hairdressers, can again have clients visit.
And residents can now leave their home for any reason, rather than just for essentials or exercise.
It came after Mr Andrews outlined new rules for home visits, which were curtailed throughout Victoria’s devastating second wave, making it difficult for people to see family and friends.
Two adults from one household, and their dependents, can now visit another home. The visits are restricted to within the 25-kilometre travel limit and to once a day.
Home gathering restrictions will remain beyond November 8, when the travel limit and the “ring of steel” separating the city from regional Victoria is expected to be lifted.
For Victorians in regional areas, Wednesday marks the first time they can hit the gym in months.
The government has advised that masks should be worn inside gyms for most activities, apart from running on a treadmill.
Mr Andrews earlier said masks would remain mandatory outdoors across the state for the rest of the year and possibly into 2021.
Home businesses such as hairdressers will be able to reopen if they have a “discrete retail area”, while cleaners and maintenance workers may attend homes provided they wear a mask.
Waxing is back on, with beauty therapists allowed to open. And anyone wanting to tattoo a memory of lockdown 2020 will be able to visit a parlour.
Halloween trick-or-treating will be permitted in Melbourne and regional Victoria this Saturday as long as it’s “contactless”, with people unable to enter properties, including front yards, to doorknock.
Victoria had a second consecutive day of no new coronavirus cases or deaths – dubbed “doughnut days” – on Tuesday. They were its first since March 5 and 6.
It leaves the state’s virus death toll at 817 and the national figure at 905.
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