Gyms, pools can reopen in regional Vic

September 16, 2021 BY

Mandatory vax: From 11.59pm next Thursday, all construction site workers must show evidence to their employer they have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: FILE

REGIONAL residents outside of Ballarat will enjoy additional freedoms for hitting seventy per cent single dose vaccination.

Gyms and outdoor and indoor pools can reopen from 11:59pm Friday with density limits; however, spas, saunas and steam rooms remain close. Tour buses can operate with up to 10 people.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews unveiled an easing of COVID-19 restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and Ballarat, including small outdoor gatherings.

Locked-down Victorians from separate households will be able to gather outdoors in groups of two or more from this weekend as part of easing COVID-19 restrictions.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday announced the easing of restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and Ballarat, triggered by the state reaching its 70 per cent first dose vaccination target on Friday.

Under the changes from 11.59pm on Friday, outdoor social interaction will be added to the list of reasons residents in lockdown can leave home.

It will allow two people from two households to meet for a picnic, a walk, or another outdoor activity, while that number grows to five – plus their dependents – for fully vaccinated adults.

Mr Andrews said police would not be checking the vaccination status of people in every park across Melbourne and Ballarat.

“There’s a degree of good faith in this. I’m asking people to do the right thing. If people do the right thing, then we’ll be out of lockdown sooner,” he told reporters.

Other changes include an extra two hours of exercise, the expansion of the travel limit from five kilometres to 10, and the reopening of outdoor gym equipment and skate parks.

Two people will also be permitted to train outdoors with a personal trainer, and real estate inspections can resume by appointment and for vacant homes only.

Recreational sports activities such as golf and tennis are still not allowed under the changes.

“You can’t agree to everything. We essentially have prioritised family time, so people being able to connect with another family, another household, outdoors,” Mr Andrews said.

Melbourne’s 9pm to 5am nightly curfew will remain in place, with the premier declaring he hadn’t received any advice to repeal the controversial measure.

“The curfew works,” he said.

In addition, the state government has moved to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for construction site workers after the virus leaked into Ballarat amid widespread transmission within the industry.

From 11.59pm next Thursday, all construction site workers must show evidence to their employer they have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

There will be limited medical exemptions and proof-of-booking exceptions will apply.

Construction site workers will also be banned from crossing the metro-regional boundary for work, tea rooms must close, and food and drink can no longer be consumed indoors.

The government’s roadmap out of lockdown, outlining restrictions through to November, will be released on Sunday.

The Australian Medical Association’s Victorian branch said it is “reckless” for restrictions to ease until two weeks after 80 per cent of people over 12 are fully vaccinated.

“COVID-19 is putting unprecedented strain on Victoria’s healthcare system and now is not the time to open up,” Victorian AMA President Dr Roderick McRae said in a statement.

Victoria recorded 514 new locally acquired cases on Thursday, with 148 infections linked to existing outbreaks and the source of 366 still under investigation.

It is Victoria’s highest daily tally since the peak of the state’s second wave in August 2020.



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