The past year has seen Victoria struggling with bushfires and COVID-19, but there is good news on the horizon for the Australian state. With coronavirus cases staying low, the area is beginning to function in a more familiar way, as restrictions are lifted and tourism is preparing to once again start up.

In a statement, Premier Daniel Andrews addressed the changes coming in the next few months, saying that the plan is to reopen Victoria in phases with safety in mind. “With the rate of community transmission remaining low, and the rate of testing remaining high, we’re in a position to make a number of additional changes. Just as we can ease some restrictions, some of our other measures must remain in place,” Premier Andrews said.

Melbourne city skyline at twilight
Melbourne city skyline and the Yarra River during twilight ©f11photo/Getty Images

The state has seen a return to face-to-face learning in schools, while outdoor playgrounds, skate parks and communal gyms have reopened. From 31 May, home gatherings of 20 people will be allowed, while outdoor gatherings will also be limited to the same number. This will also see overnight stays becoming available at both private residencies and hotels, with a view of getting the tourism industry started again. The premier said that campgrounds and caravan parks without communal facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms will also be able to reopen.

Koala on The Grass in Great Otway NP in Australia
Wild koala walking on the ground of Great Otway National Park © JurgaR / Getty Images

31 May will also see entertainment and cultural venues like galleries, museums, drive-in cinemas and historic sites opening their doors along with zoos and outdoor amusement parks. Physical distancing and a limit of up to 20 patrons per space will apply, and indoor venues will be required to keep customer contact details. Swimming pools will also open with limits of 20 people and additional safety requirements in place. The message to Victorians also stated that those working from home should do so until at least the end of June.

Depending on community transmission and testing rates, Victoria will look to further relax restrictions from 22 June. From that date, up to 50 people will be permitted in restaurants, cafes, galleries, museums and for the first time, cinemas and theatres. The ski season will also open on this date. 

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