Ballarat families separated from their loved ones by the "ring of steel" around Melbourne will be reunited from Monday.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the long-awaited and much-anticipated news that the "ring of steel" around Melbourne would be lifted from 11.59 pm Sunday, to allow travel between regional Victoria and Melbourne once more.
It was welcome news for many regional Victorians who have been separated from their friends and family in Melbourne since the ring of steel was put in place in early July.
With her family all based in Melbourne, Ballarat mum of three Sarah Guinelly is very much looking forward to being able to see all her friends and family again from this week.
While the single mum to a nine, seven and 20-month-old has a couple of friends in the region, the majority of her support people are in Melbourne.
It hasn't been an easy year for her, so Ms Guinelly is "really looking forward" to seeing her mum and the rest of her family.
"I'm so looking forward to catching up with everyone. I can go and see them if I want to or they can come up here," Ms Guinelly said.
"It will be great to have a barbecue and celebrate the kids' birthdays."
Her sister is planning a day trip to Ballarat on Monday, when she will meet her 10-week-old niece for the first time, while she is also looking forward to taking her own kids to the zoo in coming weeks.
Ms Guinelly also noted that she wasn't phased by the continued requirement to wear a mask.
"People are whinging about the masks but I would rather wear a mask than to go without seeing everyone in Melbourne," Ms Guinelly said. "I think it's a small price to pay to be able to do things freely and be able to enjoy the company of friends and family."
Meanwhile, another Ballarat resident, Debbie Clark, is "immensely" looking forward to travelling to Melbourne this week.
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She has a niece in Melbourne who is "like a daughter to her" and who recently had a baby.
In a normal year Ms Clark would spend a lot of time with her niece but has been unable to this year due to restrictions, so she is eager to pick up her mum and get down to Melbourne for a visit.
"It's been very tough on everyone. It's been the worst year in so many ways but when I saw they were lifting it [the border] I thought it was absolutely awesome," she said.
"I can't wait to get down there and see my niece and spend time with my great nieces and nephews."
She already has presents to give the children and is eager to care for them for a while to give her niece a well-deserved break.
Premier Andrews said lifting the "ring of steel" meant Victoria would be "united as one single state".
While he said restrictions had been necessary to achieve the result of 725 daily cases to zero for nine consecutive days, he said the hardest part for everyone was "missing the people we love the most".
"Collectively, we've missed the big moments and the small. Birthdays and barbecues. Special dinners and cups of tea.
"Those things we didn't even know we'd miss - until we realised just how precious they really were. But we did it," Premier Andrews said.
"Because staying apart meant keeping each other safe. Today, because of that sacrifice, our state can be whole again. Families will be whole again too."
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