Retail and hospitality to reopen as Victoria’s “circuit breaker” lockdown ends tonight

lockdown ends

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Source: AAP.

Victoria’s “circuit breaker” coronavirus lockdown will end this evening, after the state recorded no new cases overnight.

Premier Daniel Andrews this morning announced stage four restrictions would ease from 11.59pm Wednesday, February 17, after a five-day lockdown was enforced across the state in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at a hotel quarantine facility.

This means from midnight tonight, there will be no restrictions on the reasons residents can leave their homes and the 5km travel limit will no longer apply.

However, masks will be required indoors and outdoors, when social distancing is not possible.

Retail and hospitality businesses will reopen with the same density limits that were in place last week.

Personal care services, exercise facilities and entertainment venues can also reopen.

Work-from-home orders will be lifted, allowing 50% of workers to return to the office in both the public and private sectors.

Announcing the easing of restrictions, Andrews said it was clear “the circuit breaker worked”.

“No one takes lightly the decision to close businesses and disrupt people’s lives … but the only way to avoid another wave is to follow the advice of the experts,” Andrews said.

Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed there are currently 25 people with coronavirus in the state who are all isolating.

The lockdown began on Friday after health authorities found a coronavirus outbreak linked to the Holiday Inn quarantine facility had reached 13 cases, all confirmed to be the UK variant.

Under the restrictions, residents could leave their homes for four reasons: to get essential goods and services, provide care, work or study and exercise.

The 5km travel limit from homes was reintroduced and masks had to be worn outside at all times.

Non-essential retail businesses, hairdressers and real estate businesses had to close, and hospitality businesses could only serve takeaway.

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