There are more promising signs in regional Victoria, with no new COVID-19 cases detected for the third day in a row.
As the regions edge forever closer towards taking the significant 'third step' out of lockdown, the latest data indicates the benchmark should be reached early this week.
The 14-day rolling average has dropped to 3.9, meaning regional Victoria just needs to last two weeks without a mystery case.
There have been just three mystery cases found in the regions in the last two weeks, but they are expected to drop off the 14-day count in the near future.
There are now just 47 active cases in regional Victoria, almost half of which are in the Colac shire, which has 23 active cases.
Elsewhere, there are six known active cases in Geelong, one in Bendigo and Ballarat has been virus-free for a week.
If regional Victoria lasts two weeks without a new mystery case, it will advance to the 'third step'.
Under the third step,regional Victorians will be able to live a more social life, although many businesses will still be severely impacted.
Travel restrictions within regional Victoria will be eased, reasons to leave home removed and larger outdoor gatherings allowed.
The key changes include:
- No restrictions on reasons to leave home
- Gatherings of up to 10 people outdoors
- You can have five visitors to your home, although they must from the one household that has been selected as your 'household bubble'. Your 'household bubble' cannot change. Infants under 12 months are not included in this figure.
- Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to open but with group limits of 10, as well as other density rules
- Accommodation venues to open, but with household bubble restrictions
- Weddings: allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).
- Funerals: allowed with up to 20 people (not including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral).
- Religion: outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed, facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader
- Real estate: private inspections by appointment only, auctions outdoors subject to gathering limits.
- Exercise: Outdoor contact and non-contact sport for under-18, outdoor non-contact sport only for adults, with gathering and density limits, outdoor skateparks open, outdoor fitness for 10 people.
Speaking on Monday, Premier Daniel Andrews also announced an additional $290 million support for businesses, including $87.5 million outdoor hospitality support package for regional Victoria.
Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula said the grants would be available to licensed and unlicensed venues including pubs, restaurants and cafes.
"$58 million will be paid in grants of $5000 for businesses to pay for things like umbrellas, furniture, screens, and invest in training and advertising," he said.
"We predict 11,000 businesses to benefit.
"It also includes $30 million to local councils to implement a streamlined permit process to support expanded outdoor hospitality."
Mr Andrews said he didn't want cash-strapped businesses to bear any further costs.
"The cost of umbrellas and such, we don't want them to be a barrier for businesses already under considerable pressure," he said.
"We're very pleased by the response from local government, we are happy to support councils to expedite the planning arrangements here.
"We don't want bureaucratic debate, we want as many people seated outdoors as possible."
Again, Mr Andrews hinted regional Victoria would advance to the third step in the coming days.
However, he did not reveal exactly when it would be.
He also said the would be further announcements about new measures to keep the regions safe once opened up again.
"We are absolutely confident we can keep the numbers low," he said.
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