Victoria has recorded four new cases of coronavirus and one death in the past day, as residents begin to enjoy more freedoms as lockdown restrictions ease.
Monday's four new infections take the statewide 14-day rolling case average to 7.7 new cases per day, down from eight on Sunday.
The numbers will come as an added comfort to Melburnians who can now travel 25 kilometres (up from five kilometres) from their homes and spend an unlimited time outside after Premier Daniel Andrews unveiled a suite of new restrictions.
Up to 10 people from two households can gather outdoors and hairdressers, golf courses and tennis courts are allowed to reopen.
The reopening of retail stores and indoor dining for restaurants, cafes and pubs has been pushed back to November 2, to the ire of many business owners including Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott who questioned the logic of some of the changes.
"It’s still difficult to understand the rationale for some of the changes and ongoing business restrictions, from a public health and wellbeing perspective. For example, you can go to the hairdresser or a skate park and have more freedom to travel, but you can’t go to your local Bunnings Warehouse." Wesfarmers owns Bunnings stores.
If case numbers remain low this week, however, Mr Andrews said businesses may be allowed to reopen sooner.
Paul Guerra, the chief executive officer of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the reaction was "mixed", with certainty around the return date for businesses welcomed.
"We thought the additional two weeks was too long to get retail and hospitality back," he told radio station 3AW on Monday morning.
"But there’s a glimmer of hope, if we can do the right thing over the next week, and then the Premier can stand up on Sunday and get the rest of industry going."
There were just two cases announced in Victoria on Sunday, both located in the Hume council area.
A staff member at Kemp’s Bakery in Kilmore tested positive and worked at the shop between October 1 and October 11. According to the Health Department, the staff member is not considered to have been infectious during that period.
In regional Victoria, residents are allowed to welcome visitors to their homes. Two adults and two dependents from any household are allowed to visit a home once per day.
In Shepparton, where a small COVID-19 outbreak was sparked by a truck driver linked to the Chadstone cluster, extra restrictions on restaurants, pubs and cafes will remain in place for an extra week.
Venues will be limited to 10 people per indoor space, although a maximum of 70 people are allowed in outdoor areas.
"This decision, based on the advice of our public health team, is a precautionary measure to keep the Shepparton community safe, and as more people get tested and get their results, we’ll proceed with the changes announced (on Sunday)," the Department of Health and Human Services said.
Meanwhile, more travellers from New Zealand are set to fly to Victoria within days despite angry demands from Mr Andrews for federal action to prevent the state being drawn into a "travel bubble" across the Tasman.
Victorian officials have asked the Australian Border Force to speed up the release of passenger manifests to prevent a repeat of the surprise arrival of up to 55 travellers from New Zealand into Melbourne on Friday.
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