What’s the deal with Victoria’s latest coronavirus restriction updates?


Yes, you can have that long-awaited dinner party now (sort of).

It’s been a mind-numbingly long six or so weeks, hasn’t it? But thankfully, in the last few days, all around Australia states have been announcing their plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Us Victorians had to wait the longest, being the final state to pull back restrictions, but today we were given some light at the end of the tunnel, with Premier Daniel Andrews announcing what the first stage will look like and when it will happen.

The press conference took place earlier today, but in case you missed it or have some burning questions about what this means for your currently non-existent social life, read on to find out.

Right, what’s the deal then?

Glad you asked. The gist of it is that there is now a fifth reason in Victoria for leaving your house – to see your friends and family. Also, Victorians are now allowed up to five guests to their homes and this new guest allowance kicks in from 11.59pm on Tuesday May 12, AKA tomorrow. 

Excellent news. So can I have that dinner party/belated birthday gathering at my house now?

Well, technically yes, but you can only have up to five guests in your home, so your neighbours can breathe a sigh of relief – you’re certainly not going to be having that diabolical house party anytime soon. Andrews was quite firm on this, saying that it is “not an invitation to host a dinner party every night of the week”. Bad luck foodies, keep the three-course dinner parties to a minimum.

He also said that “it’s not about having a rotating roster of acquaintances and associates, or your third-best-friend from primary school, over for a visit.” My sincerest condolences to everyone’s third-best-friend from primary school.

I’m sick of cooking – what about going out for dinner? And can I drink my coffee inside my local cafe now?

Alas, no. Restaurants and cafes are still restricted to takeaway business only until the end of this month, at which time the restrictions will be reviewed again. Keep your fingers crossed for June though – you might be able to drink that flat white or espresso martini inside your favourite venue then.

How about that Tinder date I’ve been itching to go on for the last month? 

This is a bit of a grey area. Technically, the rule is that you can now see friends and family, but a date would probably be fine if you met outside for a socially distant walk or if they went to your house/you went to theirs. But inviting someone to your house before meeting IRL could be risky (not to mention might potentially take things from 0 to 100 real quick) so maybe meet for a leisurely stroll around your local park to suss them out first.

Considering bars and cafes are the glue that holds the dating world together, it’s safe to say a lot of people will still be putting dating on the backburner for the time being. In the meantime, keep on swiping, baby!

And what’s the deal with hanging with friends and family outside? 

From 11.59pm Tuesday, the restrictions on groups will also be lifted (hooray!), and up to 10 people will be able to participate in outdoor activities together. So yes, you can go on that hike, play sports with a group, sit in the park for a socially distant wine or two with a gathering of pals (so long as there’s no more than 10 of you). But don’t forget about physical distancing, rigorous hygiene practices and as Andrews said, “commonsense basically”.

What about work? Can I pack up my makeshift home office yet?

This is another grey area, but the general line of advice is that if you can work from home, you should continue doing so until the end of the month.

Okay, I’m getting the picture now. One last thing – can I get my eyebrows (or should I say eyebrow) done yet?

We covered this pretty comprehensively here and it doesn’t look like anything much has changed off the back of Andrews’ announcement today. So, while hairdressers are open, it appears beauty salons are still closed. For the time being, you might want to make friends with your tweezers.

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