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Melbourne wakes to easing of coronavirus restrictions

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Melburnians are waking to more freedoms today, as coronavirus restrictions ease after more than 100 days of a hard lockdown.

Melburnians can now get their hair cut, travel 25km from home, sell their house and play sports like tennis, as some coronavirus restrictions eased after more than 100 days of a hard lockdown.

But many firms are angry at being left out, with pubs and restaurants and non-essential shops not allowed to open for another two weeks.

Gyms also remain shuttered.

Some top epidemiologists believe the State Government has taken a very conservative approach to reopening and question why some industries remain shut.

READ MORE: Victorians battered by lockdown need more help

Premier Daniel Andrews has said the November 2 date for retail and hospitality could be brought forward if cases remain low. Beauty salons also need to wait another two weeks.

Many in the city say this is an unnecessary delay, and with such low case numbers they are ready to open their doors now.

When they do open up, bars and restaurants will be restricted to a maximum of 20 people inside and 50 outside.

Hairdressers are the big winners from yesterday's announcement.

Many welcomed customers from midnight when the relaxed measures came into effect.

"We have been sold out for weeks. Phones have been ringing off the hook," one hairdresser told 9News.

EXPLAINED: Tool shows where you can travel within your 25km radius in Melbourne

But gyms are still in the dark. While there can be personal training outside, no date has been set as to when gyms will be able to reopen, leaving them frustrated after more than 100 days in lockdown.

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The new rules mean also people can now gather with family and friends outside for as long as they like, providing they are social distancing and wearing masks.

But football fans in Melbourne will miss out on having AFL Grand Final parties.

Mr Andrews has warned fans to stay at home this weekend and watch it with family, claiming police will be out in force.

But regional Victorians will be able to celebrate at the pub, with 70 people now allowed outdoors and 40 allowed indoors.

Residents in regional Victoria can now have two visitors to their homes, plus dependents.

READ MORE: Where you can travel within 25km rule

Mr Andrews announced the variation on step three restrictions at a press conference yesterday, stressing the state could not rush opening up after some of the world's harshest restrictions.

The easing of restrictions come as Victoria recorded two new COVID-19 cases yesterday, with the 14-day rolling average down to 7.5.

Also from November 1, two people can visit other people's homes once a day, and the four reasons to leave home will be removed.

A maximum of 20 people will be allowed for outdoor religious gatherings. A maximum of 10 people will be allowed at weddings and 20 mourners at funerals.

Melbourne's new 25km radius travel rule will be in place until at least November 1, where it will then be reviewed.

However, the premier said he expects it will remain in place for "a bit longer" to prevent large numbers of people gathering across the city.

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"Victorians have done an amazing job over recent weeks and months," Mr Andrews said.

"What it means is that as so many cities across the world head into what is going to be a deadly winter, we in Melbourne and across Victoria are well-placed to have a COVIDSafe summer and a COVID normal 2021."

Source: 9News

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