Lockdown to end in Melbourne but restrictions remain

Crown Resorts‘ Melbourne business operations will recommence hotel and food and beverage operations, except those located on the casino floor, this week, after James Merlino, Victoria’s acting premier, confirmed a partial lifting of restrictions. 

In accordance with ongoing temporary restrictions imposed by the Victorian government, gaming activities at the Crown Melbourne entertainment complex will remain suspended. 

Casinos are one of many activities that will remain shuttered in the Victorian capital, alongside arcades, escape rooms, bingo centres, electronic gaming venues, amusement parks, indoor physical recreation & sport, indoor play centres, indoor skateparks, indoor trampolining centres, indoor non-seated entertainment venues, indoor tourism and tour transport.

On the advice of the chief medical officer, Merlino says that the region can take its first steps out of lockdown. This means that metropolitan Melbourne will move to almost the same settings currently in place across regional Victoria. Regional Victoria will move towards further easing.

“Make no mistake – our collective efforts over these past few weeks have changed the course of this outbreak. As individuals, as families and as a community, we have again done an incredible thing: protecting our state with grit, guts and determination,” Merlino said.

From 11:59pm on Thursday 10 June, the five permitted reasons to leave home will no longer apply in Melbourne, and the existing 10-kilometre limit will be increased to 25 kilometres. Travel into region Victoria will still be banned.

Visitors to homes will not be permitted, however outdoor gatherings will be increased to a maximum of ten people. Mask rules will be eased slightly, but will still be required inside, and outdoors when 1.5 metres isn’t possible.

Schools will resume face-to-face learning, and cafes, restaurants and pubs will open with strict safety measures, such as density limits, seated service and QR codes, in place. Remaining retail will also open. Hairdressing, beauty and personal care can resume, but only for services where masks can be kept on.

Weddings will be limited to 10 people, and funerals no more than 50. Fifty will also be the limit on religious gatherings. Swimming pools, entertainment venues and community facilities will also open subject to density limits. And community sport can happen, but only for training. 

In regional Victoria, restrictions will also ease. Visitors to the home are allowed, but are limited to two people and their dependants once per day. Public outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people.

There’ll also be increases to the capacity limits at places like restaurants, entertainment venues, community facilities and religious gatherings. Indoor sport, including gyms, will also be able to reopen with careful limits on the number of people permitted at any point in time.

“But I want to assure people, subject to public health advice, we’ll have more to say about what further stages of easing will look like next week,” Merlino continued. That includes the regional border coming down and Victorians being able to travel more freely around the state.

“For Melbourne, we’ll also look to further ease restrictions on venues and get community sport back to competition. We’ll also look at what more can be done to ease restrictions for businesses, without risking the gains we have made. Further work will also be done on easing for regional Victoria.”

Recognising that not all businesses are permitted to open during this phase, the Victoria government also confirmed its extension of support via a further AU$2,000 top-up payment.

Crown says that it will “continue to financially support staff who remain stood down, including the majority of gaming operational staff, by paying an additional discretionary payment. This includes eligible casual staff. 

“Crown Melbourne will continue to work closely with the government and health authorities in Victoria and will respond to measures taken in relation to COVID-19.” 

Victoria implemented what was first billed as a one-week circuit breaker from 11:59pm on Thursday, 27 May, 2021, until 11:59pm on Thursday 3 June, 2021, following an outbreak of 12 new cases acquired locally in a 24 hour period, which took its total number of active cases to 34. Last week an extension to restrictions was confirmed.

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