VICTORIAN Premier Daniel Andrews has raised hopes that regional Victoria could move straight to ‘Step 3’ as early as Sunday, September 13 if overall numbers in country areas continue to dive.

Today, Tuesday, September 8, there have been no new cases in regional areas, and just 82 active cases across the whole of country Victoria including 25 associated with the outbreak at Bulla Dairy Foods in Colac.

Questioned by Channel 7 reporter Andrew Lund at today’s daily update, the Premier said any easing of restrictions would be determined by the data.

“The 14-day average in regional Victoria is already low, could they jump straight to Step 3?” Andrew Lund asked.

“At 5.3 today or less in the next few days, is there a chance come Sunday they could step straight to Step 3?”

“We will be driven by the data,” Mr Andrews said.

“We will take as big a step as possible,” he said.

“That’s why we didn’t put a date on that so we could respond to the data.”

UPDATE: The average daily cases for Regional Victoria has now dropped below 5, which is one of two thresholds that must be met before the state can progress to Stage 3 on the DHHS roadmap.

The other criteria which needs to be met is there must be zero COVID-19 cases in Regional Victoria with an unknown source in the past 14 days. This is a trigger point for public health review. The State Government is due to publish this data in the next few days.

Here’s the data that needs to be achieved to go to Step 3:

* Daily average number of cases in the last 14 days in Regional Victoria is less than 5 AND,

* Zero cases in Regional Victoria with an unknown source in the last 14 days.

This is a trigger point for public health review

What does it mean if we can move straight to Step 3 this Sunday, September 13 (instead of Step 2 as proposed)?

Social

* curfew – not in place

* leave home – no restrictions on reasons to leave home or distance you can travel but stay safe

* public gatherings – up to 10 people outdoors

* visitors to the home – create a ‘household bubble’ with one nominated household allowing up to 5 visitors from that household at a time (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap)

Education and childcare

* childcare – open

* schools – in metropolitan Melbourne, remote learning with potential staged return for onsite learning for Grade 3 to Grade 10 based on epidemiology; in regional Victoria, staged return to onsite learning for all students in Term 4 with safety measures in place

* adult education – restricted. Learn from home if you can, onsite for hands-on, skills-based learning

Work

* work from home if you can

Shopping, personal services, eating and drinking out

* hospitality – predominantly outdoor, group limit of 10 and density limits

* retail – all open, hairdressing open with safety measures, other beauty/personal care closed

* real estate – private inspections by appointment only, auctions outdoors subject to gathering limits

* shopping – no person limits

Exercise and recreation

* Outdoor contact and non-contact sport for people aged 18 and younger, outdoor non-contact sport only for adults, with gathering and density limits, outdoor skateparks open, outdoor fitness for groups of 10 people

Ceremonies and special occasions

* weddings – allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant)

* funerals – allowed with up to 20 people (infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit)

* religion – outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader, places of worship open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader

Entertainment, leisure and travel

* travel within Victoria – allowed across all areas in the Third Step (except travel to areas with higher restrictions)

* entertainment – outdoor venues and events open, subject to pre-approved plans

* accommodation – open, with caps per the social bubble

When will we move to the next step?

Subject to public health advice, from 23 November if we get to zero new cases state-wide for 14 days, we can move to the Last Step.

Additional tracing teams are being established in regional areas to assist with contact tracing.