Welcome back to the Surf Coast!

October 28, 2021 BY

The Surf Coast is jumping for joy at the prospect of welcoming Melburnians back to our shores.

The Surf Coast is celebrating, with tomorrow’s 6pm certainty that doors will open, Melburnians will be back, and friends and family can reunite.

The community has traditionally anticipated a busy Melbourne Cup long weekend, kicking off the summer season for hospitality and tourism-based businesses that rely heavily of Melbourne visitors.

And after two long lockdown-plagued winters and more than 18 months of uncertainty, the state government’s announcement that from 6pm tomorrow, Melbourne and regional Victoria would be one again, masks outdoors would be optional, and most restrictions were likely to be gone within a month, has provided great relief.

Surf Coast mayor Libby Stapleton said the shire was looking forward to “welcoming our Melburnian friends back”.

“It’s been a long time coming and they absolutely deserve a relaxing holiday,” Cr Stapleton said.

“Our tourism and hospitality industry has endured an incredibly tough 20 months, and I’m so pleased they now have some certainty as we continue to open up.

“We’re expecting a bumper Melbourne Cup long weekend on the Surf Coast and a busy summer period, which will give our local businesses a much-needed boost.”

Torquay’s Front Beach manager Linda Gorfolova said she was looking forward to when local venues could welcome back visitors but hoped issues with staffing levels could be addressed.

“Even though restrictions are easing and we could welcome many more customers, staff levels will likely not allow us to run at maximum allowed capacity in the next few weeks,” she said, explaining a change in vaccination rules requiring staff to have two doses and a general staff shortage was having an impact.

“As for any business, it is important for us to be able to operate without limitations during our peak season.

“However we need the international borders to reopen for backpackers as soon as possible, otherwise it will be very hard for many venues to operate at a full capacity anytime soon,” Ms Gorfolova said.

She said the Melbourne Cup weekend would be challenging but after the past year-and-a-half of lockdowns they were experienced “going from 0 to 100 in a very short time”.

From 6pm tomorrow, Melbourne and regional Victoria will have the same restrictions, masks outdoors will no longer be mandatory and most indoor venues open with a one person per four square metres, if all staff and patrons are fully vaccinated.

Most outdoor settings will remain at one person per two square metres, with a 500 limit, where staff and patrons are fully vaccinated.

The next milestone in the Roadmap will be when Victoria hits the 90 per cent double-dose vaccination target for Victorians 12 years and over, predicted to be as early as November 24, when caps or density quotients will be removed for all settings, and masks will only be mandatory indoors in some high-risk settings.

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