Victorians, companies react to lifting lockdown

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There were mixed feelings after Victoria’s lockdown was lifted at midnight, but almost everyone agreed that everything was far from normal.

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Victorian authorities are not ruling out a fifth lockdown, saying the way to avoid the harsh Covid-19 measure depends on two things….

Victorian authorities are not ruling out a fifth lockdown, saying the way to avoid the harsh Covid-19 measure depends on two things.

A man practices early in the morning in Melbourne leaving his fourth lockdown.Source: News Corp Australia

Victorians and local businesses are celebrating the end of a tough two-week lockdown, but many are warning there will be no « backlash » to normal life.

After two weeks of staying home, the toughest restrictions in Melbourne were lifted at 11:59pm last night, after just one new virus case was recorded on Tuesday.

“This is a good day. Everyone should be absolutely proud of what we have all achieved together, » said James Merlino, acting Prime Minister of the State of Victoria.

Victoria's Acting Prime Minister, James Merlino.

Victoria’s Acting Prime Minister, James Merlino.Source: News Corp Australia

He said collective efforts had stopped the outbreak in the city, where more than 80 people tested positive for the Kappa or Delta tribes that originated in India.

« But we know this isn’t over yet, and until we have widespread vaccinations in Victoria and across our country, the virus will still be with us, » Mr Merlino said.

Melbourne residents still cannot travel more than 15 miles from their homes or receive visitors, but can gather outside in groups of up to 10.

Schools, cafes and beauty salons can open again, but gyms and nightclubs must remain closed for at least another week.

Those on social media had mixed reactions, some were proud, others depressed and many said they wouldn’t notice much of a change after exiting lockdown

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Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.Source: News Corp Australia

Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, said there can be no « backlash » to no restrictions as the situation remains « fairly unstable ».

« We need to move incrementally, safely, but with the minimal restrictions that we know we will continue to control, » he said.

The CEO of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Paul Guerra, said that while the lockdown was welcome, businesses would still be under pressure.

“Today’s news is good, but it’s not the snapback we were hoping for; we went in quickly, but we crawl out. While most businesses in the state can now open, we need to see further easing of restrictions to allow all businesses to return to viable trade as soon as possible to sustain jobs, businesses, livelihoods, culture and prosperity in Victoria. « The toll of these mental health restrictions is immense, as is the damage they do to our reputation and trust. »

Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra.

Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra.Source:Supplied

“It’s great to see Regional Victoria taking another step out of lockdown and the Victorian Chamber is calling for the state to reunite soon. Not every business in the state will be able to operate from tomorrow and some will continue to lose money every day until restrictions are eased further, » said Mr Guerra. « We know our tourism industry will miss this weekend, but we hope visitors from next weekend and then return to the regions.

A Gucci employee prepares for reopening ahead of the fourth shutdown in Melbourne.

A Gucci employee prepares for reopening ahead of the fourth shutdown in Melbourne.Source: News Corp Australia

The changes for Metropolitan Victoria will mean offices can welcome 25 percent of the workforce or 10 people, whichever is more.

Hospitality can open for dinners with a density limit of one person per four square meters up to a maximum of 100 people (50 indoors), shops and indoor entertainment can open with density limits, hairdressers, beauty and personal services can open for services where a mask is worn can be and outdoor sports and group fitness classes can be taught with a 10-person cap.

Indoor sports, gyms, swimming pools and recreation will remain closed, maskless beauty services will not be allowed, as will private indoor gatherings, although the government has indicated further support for these sectors is on the way.

A very wet Melbourne day leading up to the end of the fourth shutdown in Melbourne.

A very wet Melbourne day leading up to the end of the fourth shutdown in Melbourne.Source: News Corp Australia

Melburnians are excited about the end of the lockdown.

Melburnians are excited about the end of the lockdown.Source: News Corp Australia

In Regional Victoria, limits on hospitality and entertainment will increase, masks can be released indoors (including for beauty services), and indoor sports, gyms, swimming pools and recreation can be opened. However, Victoria’s tourism industry will not see an uptick with travel restrictions for metropolitan residents to continue.

When Victoria faced similar lockdown restrictions last October, the state government needed zero active cases to reopen the state.

Australia is one of the few countries worldwide without endemic transmission, with 30,000 Covid-19 cases and fewer than 1,000 deaths out of a population of 25 million.

The fourth lockdown in Melbourne has ended.

The fourth lockdown in Melbourne has ended.Source: News Corp Australia

The border remains closed to most travelers – with the exception of those from New Zealand – and authorities are quick to impose restrictions when cases are detected.

The virus is believed to have leaked from Australia’s makeshift hotel quarantine facilities up to 18 times in six months, sparking a rigorous investigation of the system in recent weeks.

Outbreaks in Taiwan and Japan have also underlined how initial success in containing the virus can quickly erode without widespread vaccination.

Australia had about 5.2 million shots on Monday, but only a small proportion of people have been fully vaccinated.

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