How long-suffering Melburnians STILL can’t take off masks to have a beer outside with Dan Andrew’s new ‘picnic’ liberties strictly alcohol-free
- Restrictions in Victoria will be slightly relaxed from Friday midnight
- Melburnians can picnic in groups of five from Saturday
- However, residents must keep masks on while drinking alcohol outside
- Controversial rule was introduced last month after a Melbourne pub crawl
Melburnians will still have to abide by a bizarre rule that prevents them from taking off their masks to drink alcohol outside, as Daniel Andrews eases some restrictions in the long-suffering town.
A series of changes to the current rules were announced on Thursday and will apply to residents of Melbourne and Ballarat, both of which have been shut down.
The rules, which come into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday, include allowing five fully vaccinated people from up to two households to hold small social gatherings outside.
The travel radius will be increased from 5 km to 10 km and there will be a reopening of outdoor gyms and skate parks.
Despite being able to picnic in groups, residents eager to have a beer with their friends will still be banned from taking off their masks to drink alcohol.
Melburnians will still have to abide by a bizarre rule preventing them from taking off their masks to drink alcohol outdoors amid easing of restrictions (woman pictured walks dog during Melbourne lockdown)
Five fully vaccinated people will be allowed to gather for an outdoor picnic from midnight Friday (people are seen relaxing in Melbourne)
Masks are required both indoors and outdoors, except at homes, where residents are allowed to take them off only to eat and drink non-alcoholic beverages.
The unusual rule was first introduced a month ago after a ‘bar crawl’ in Melbourne, where residents were seen drinking takeaway alcohol in large groups on the street.
“No masks will be removed to consume alcohol outdoors,” Mr Andrews said at the time.
“You can no longer take off your mask to have a cocktail at a pop-up beer garden on a sidewalk as part of a pub crawl.”
Andrews revealed on Thursday that Melburnians can also exercise outside for four hours a day; a doubling of the existing limit. Two people are allowed to train outside with a personal trainer.
Mandatory vaccinations will be introduced for everyone working on construction sites – with the one-shot deadline this Friday – as the state strives to send traditional crafts back to work.
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews revealed on Thursday that Melburnians can also exercise outside for four hours a day; a doubling of the existing limit (Melburnians depicted are seen during lockdown)
NEW MELBOURNE RULES FROM 11:59 PM FRIDAY
- Outdoor gatherings of up to five people from up to two households that are all fully vaccinated
- Travel radius doubles from 5km to 10km
- Exercise time outside doubles from two hours to four hours
- Two people can train outside with a personal trainer
- All construction workers must have their first dose from next Friday to work on site
- Childcare centers will reopen as long as one of the parents is an authorized employee
- Real estate inspections opened with people from one household and broker has to wait outside
Childcare centers will also reopen for school-aged children if only one parent is an authorized employee.
In regional Victoria, indoor and outdoor gyms and swimming pools will reopen under the one person per four square meter rule.
The curfew from 9pm to 5pm in Melbourne will remain in effect.
The measures were promised by Mr Andrews two weeks ago as a reward for achieving 70 per cent vaccination coverage on the first dose, but he has added the outdoor picnics as a bonus, following New South Wales’s lead.
The restored freedoms come despite Victoria recording 514 new Covid cases on Thursday – the most since August 5 last year.
Andrews said the new fees, especially outdoor gatherings, require a significant amount of “good faith” from Victorians.
The restored freedoms come despite Victoria recording 514 new Covid cases on Thursday (pictured in Melbourne on Thursday)
“We’re not going to have police in every park. We will not have police demanding people to prove they have been vaccinated,” he said.
“We can’t have the situation of going park by park, picnic by picnic. That’s not an invitation to break the rules.
“There is a certain amount of good faith in this. I ask people to do the right thing, if people do the right thing, we will be out of the lockdown sooner.
“If people ignore these rules, it means more cases, more people in the hospital and we’ll be locked up for longer.”
Melbourne registered 514 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest figure the state has seen since the 112-day lockdown last year