COVID-19 Restrictions Update. With COVID-19 cases dropping drastically across Victoria, the Andrew’s government announced on Sunday the lifting of some of the current COVID-19 restrictions.
This lockdown, though necessary, has had a devastating impact on the mental wellbeing of all Victorians. We at VMIAC are excited for some relief and are happy with the caution being taken in regard to preventing further waves of cases. These are the changes coming into place as of 11.59pm October 18.
Socialising and Exercise
Social connection has been a key mental health issue surrounding this lockdown. The effects of isolation have been well documented in our consultations with consumers, and there is some relief to this isolation that has come because of these announcements on Sunday.
There is no longer a time limit on exercise and outdoor socialising, and outdoor meet ups are now being expanded to allow for up to a combined 10 people from two households to gather in public outdoor areas. This is up from the 5 previously allowed.
This is a welcomed relief to those living in share housing as well as those with kids and families who were unable to properly connect with others under the 5-person limit.
Alongside this, tennis courts and skate parks, alongside other outdoor recreational facilities, will be reopened. Swimming pools will also be open with a 30-swimmer limit. Physical health can greatly affect mental wellbeing, and with the sun coming out, it is highly exciting to be able to return to these routines. This also pairs with the end of the 5km radius restriction, now being increased to 25kms.
Both hairdressers and home repair workers will now be allowed to return to work, and some allied health services will be returning to in-person services. This has been a big issue for those who have struggled with Telehealth and its lack of privacy and connection. This will, however, depend on the service provider. It is an exciting prospect to be able to see some psychologists and social workers again when needed.
After November 1st
Though these are not set in stone, some plans have been proposed for next month that lift restrictions further. Dependent on the number of cases this week and the stories surrounding these cases, the below may be brought forward at the government’s discretion. Among these plans that stand out are:
- The allowing of 2 adults, plus their children, to be able to leave their home to visit another household, helping people reconnect with their friends and families
- The reopening of hospitality venues, with capacity restrictions
- The reopening of retail
- The allowance for religious gatherings as well as weddings, with limited capacity
- Greater access to outdoor sport, fitness and recreation.
These changes are not confirmed and will depend on how cases numbers change over the following weeks, but are still promising for us Victorians looking to integrate back into society as we knew it..
We have been through a lot over the last 100+ days of lockdown and hopefully we are almost at the end of it. Opening slowly and steadily means that we will prevent another wave of this virus that has harmed so many of us physically, mentally, and emotionally.
We hope to be able to see all of you again in person soon, and go back to connecting with our communities face-to-face.