Coronavirus Australia: Victoria ends lockdown but adheres to strict Covid rules

Victorians will likely face grueling coronavirus restrictions for many weeks to come that threaten to decimate hospitality and small businesses.

The Victorian government will make a decision tonight on whether or not to extend the state’s fifth grueling Covid lockdown, with policymakers and health officials waiting until the last minute to make the call.

But sources say many restaurants will see no point in opening under the new rules under discussion, including a possible return to up to 50 customers inside.

Stay-at-home orders, which came in on July 16, are scheduled to end at 11:59pm on Tuesday, but Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has warned a series of restrictions should remain in place.

The cabinet is still considering extending the lockdown by three days, but at this stage it seems that the government will opt for what is called ‘lockdown lite’.

The Victorian government will make a decision tonight on whether or not to extend the state’s fifth grueling Covid lockdown. Pictured: Protesters march in Saturday’s anti-lockdown demonstration in Melbourne

Policymakers and health officials are waiting until the last minute to decide whether to extend the lockdown.  Pictured: A woman in pink wheels with her bike past a large number of police officers during the anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Saturday

Policymakers and health officials are waiting until the last minute to decide whether to extend the lockdown. Pictured: A woman in pink wheels with her bike past a large number of police officers during the anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Saturday

“The restrictions will be tough in the coming months,” a source told the… Herald Sun.

“It won’t be worth opening for many restaurants if what’s being talked about continues,” another source said.

“Not good news for Melbourne.”

While Victoria had 11 more infections on Monday, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 190, all new transmissions had been isolated and had not been in the community.

All 11 were also linked to known cases.

These vital stats have put the Garden State firmly on track to come out of lockdown on Wednesday as planned.

But the prime minister has previously warned that harsh measures are likely to remain in place until the state’s vaccination rate reaches 50 percent.

Home orders, which arrived on July 16, are scheduled to end at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, but Prime Minister Daniel Andrews (pictured) has warned a series of restrictions must remain in place

Home orders, which arrived on July 16, are scheduled to end at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, but Prime Minister Daniel Andrews (pictured) has warned a series of restrictions must remain in place

Victoria police are pictured in formation on Saturday at the anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne

Victoria police are pictured in formation on Saturday at the anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne

VICTORIA’S NEW RESTRICTIONS AFTER LOCKDOWN END

Health official says it is “very likely” the state lockdown will end as planned on Wednesday.

Major changes are likely to include:

– Schools open again

– Cafés and restaurants open but with a maximum of 50 people inside and 100 outside

– Open a store with one person per line of 4 m²

– Public community sport to start over with 100 person cap

– Mouthmasks remain mandatory both inside and outside

– The new restrictions will apply statewide, including Melbourne

‘On the data we have now, on the trend we have now, the strategy works. We are well positioned,” the prime minister said.

“But we don’t assume five reasons to leave the house from midnight on Tuesday to do whatever you want, wherever you want,” he said.

The ongoing restrictions under discussion would see schoolchildren return to class this week, while field trips, scheduled camps and events are also given the green light.

High-level talks are already underway to open the doors of Victoria’s much-loved hangouts with cafes, restaurants and bars likely to trade under the 4 people per sqm rule this week with a maximum of 50 customers indoors.

Retail stores will also have the same restrictions, while outdoor public sporting events will be limited to 100 people.

Under the new proposal, face masks are expected to remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors as the highly contagious Indian Delta variant continues to wreak havoc north of the border.

One of the issues that could stand in Victoria’s way, however, is a possible increase in cases as a result of the anti-lockdown march that took place in Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday.

More than 1,000 people flooded the streets ignoring orders to stay at home to protest Covid restrictions, with many more taking to the streets in Covid-ravaged Sydney.

A health worker is seen outside a pop-up Covid19 testing facility outside the LaCrosse apartment building in Melbourne's Docklands, Sunday, July 25

A health worker is seen outside a pop-up Covid19 testing facility outside the LaCrosse apartment building in Melbourne’s Docklands, Sunday, July 25

Commentators walk the pedestrian bridge Jim Stynes ​​with face masks under their chins on Monday their

Commentators walk the pedestrian bridge Jim Stynes ​​with face masks under their chins on Monday their

The protesters left face masks and ignored social distancing, raising concerns that the anti-lockdown rally could act as a super-spreader for Covid-19.

A final decision is expected to be made Monday evening on whether to release Victorians from the lockdown.

“As we made our position clear yesterday, we want to ensure that with restrictions ending tomorrow, we make that decision based on the most current and accurate data and advice from our public health teams,” said Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley. reporters.

“Nothing is final yet, but we are aware of the need to share that with the people of Victoria as soon as a decision is made.”

One of the issues that could stand in the way of Victoria is a possible rise in cases following the anti-lockdown march that took place in Melbourne's CBD on Saturday (pictured)

One of the issues that could stand in the way of Victoria is a possible rise in cases following the anti-lockdown march that took place in Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday (pictured)

A final decision is expected to be made Monday evening on whether to release Victorians from the lockdown.  Pictured: Anti-lockdown protesters are seen in Melbourne's CBD

A final decision is expected to be made Monday evening on whether to release Victorians from the lockdown. Pictured: Anti-lockdown protesters are seen in Melbourne’s CBD

When asked why authorities delayed making a decision, Mr Foley said: ‘Two days of zero cases in the community’ does not equate to ‘public health assurance’.

More than 25,000 test results were received in the 24 hours to midnight Monday, while nearly 14,000 doses of vaccine were administered at state-run sites during the same period.

“Last week we saw the day of our highest-ever test results in Victoria and yesterday saw more than 25,000 tests back,” said Mr Foley.

“That gives us some extra comfort together that we know what’s out there, but we can only be sure if Victorians keep coming forward in such large numbers.”

However, he urged residents with symptoms to come forward for testing, particularly those from Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, where Covid fragments were detected in the sewers between July 20 and 23.

The warning applies to the suburbs of Tarneit, Trinder Nine, Glenroy Hadfield, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale and Truganina.

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