Premier Dan Andrews has stepped out to enjoy Freedom Day celebrations with his wife after Melbourne endured the world’s longest lockdown – but his festivities didn’t include ‘getting on the beers’.
Victoria officially lifted its stay-at-home orders at 11.59pm on Thursday after a record-breaking 262 days in lockdown after the Covid-riddled state reached its 70 per cent vaccination target.
While many revellers visited pubs and restaurants around the city to celebrate their new-found freedom, Mr Andrews opted for a more tame celebration on Friday morning with his family.
Instead of ‘getting on the beers’ – a phrase made famous by Mr Andrews during a press conference in March 2020, he got on the white wines with his wife Catherine as they caught up with a mother’s group at Drinkwell in Melbourne’s lively suburb of Fitzroy.
‘Catching up with the mother’s group on Zoom just isn’t the same,’ Mr Andrews wrote on Twitter.
Premier Dan Andrews (pictured left) has stepped out to enjoy Freedom Day celebrations with his wife Catherine (pictured right) after Melbourne endured the world’s longest lockdown
Instead of ‘getting on the beers’, Mr Andrews got on the white wines with his wife as they caught up with a mother’s group
The Premier and his wife were seen laughing and enjoying the company of the mother’s group and their children as they sat at a table filled with food and drinks
‘Today Teddy, Naomi, Monty and their mums finally met up – in person. And we thought that called for a celebration.’
The Premier and his wife were seen laughing and enjoying the company of the mother’s group and their children as they sat at a table filled with beverages.
Mr Andrews even held one of the children on his lap during the visit as everyone in attendance enjoyed their first outing.
Before his post-lockdown celebrations on Friday, Mr Andrews took to Twitter to post a series of gushing tweets to mark the easing of restrictions and revealed how ‘bloody proud’ he was of Victorians.
‘As my kids say – there’s a big vibe today,’ the Premier wrote.
Mr Andrews even held one of the children named Monty on his lap at the table during the visit as everyone in attendance enjoyed their first outing
Before his post-lockdown celebrations on Friday, Mr Andrews took to Twitter to post a series of gushing tweets to mark the easing of restrictions
Premier Daniel Andrews described how he is ‘bloody proud’ of Victorians after reaching this significant day
‘You can feel the optimism. You can sense the pride in what’s been achieved.
‘And after everything it’s taken to get here, we absolutely deserve to feel that way,’ he added.
Mr Andrews said that the state went through a difficult time together, but the sacrifices have allowed them to open up again safely.
‘I’m trying not to sound like some kind of soppy Dad here, but I am proud, bloody proud of this state,’ he continued.
‘We’ve gone through such a hard time together, this pandemic has been exhausting in every sense of the word.
‘And the fact that we’re here today, and opening up, is only because of the sacrifices made by every one of us.’
But, the Premier reminded his constituents that the pandemic isn’t over, and things won’t simply return to normal right away.
‘People won’t just spring back from this either, the pandemic isn’t over, and feeling a bit anxious about all this is normal,’ Mr Andrews wrote.
‘So if you’re heading out today – please just remember that this will take time, not everyone will be so ready to throw open their front door.’
But, the Premier reminded people that the pandemic isn’t over, and things won’t simply return to normal in a short time (Pictured: Premier Andrews greets Bianca Shah in a Covid-safe way)
The Premier ended his comments by telling Victorians to enjoy the new freedoms and to be proud of what they’ve achieved (Pictured: Dan Andrews with his wife Catherine)
‘And the process of reopening won’t be without flaws either, we all know that. It will take a lot of patience and understanding,’ he added.
Mr Andrews urged residents planning to enjoy a night out at hospitality venues to be mindful of staff getting accustomed to the new rules in place.
‘So if you’ve got a booking, and something goes wrong, please – don’t take it out on the staff.’
‘It isn’t their job to update the apps, and the last thing they need is an argument about vaccines.’
‘These workers serving us deserve nothing less than absolute respect, thanks and understanding. They’re the best.’
Victoria will also scrap all quarantine requirements for international returning travellers from November 1.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday followed his NSW counterpart Dominic Perrottet’s lead by allowing fully vaccinated Australians to enter the state from overseas without spending 14 days in hotel or home quarantine.
Travellers will have to test negative to Covid-19 within 72 hours of their departure and get swabbed again within a day of arriving into Victoria.
Hotel quarantine has been in place for those arriving back into Australia since March 2020 – when international borders closed to all but citizens and permanent residents – with strict arrival caps leaving many stranded overseas.
‘This is a freedom of movement we’ve not been able to enjoy for a long time. And that’s all because Victorians have got vaccinated in record time and in record numbers,’ Mr Andrews said.
He said the state will be ‘as protected as we can be’ by the start of November as 80 to 90 per cent of the eligible adult population will have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
The announcement follows Victoria recording 16 Covid-related deaths overnight – the highest single-day toll in any state during Australia’s Delta outbreak – and 2,189 cases.
Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton urged for caution as the state opens up to the rest of the world, warning the easing of restrictions would lead to an unprecedented increase in Covid transmission.
‘As we start to reopen, there will be more Covid in the community than at any other point in time,’ he said.
Diners are pictured at the Cafe Chez Mademoiselle in Prahran in Melbourne on Friday. The city has finally emerged from lockdown, with residents flocking to hairdressers, cafes and pubs
Two pubgoers are seen at Leonard’s House of Love in South Yarra as Melbourne opened up from a lockdown at midnight on Friday morning
‘Many of those people will have mild illness cause they’re fully vaccinated. Many of those settings will have fully vaccinated people.
‘Checking in, wearing a mask will be really important, and on days like today, opening every door and window in sight to let that fresh air through.’
The new infections were announced just hours after tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Melbourne when the clock struck midnight and the city’s longsuffering locals were finally released from their sixth lockdown.
Revellers screamed in celebration from their apartment balconies, while car horns blared in the background as overjoyed Melburnians got their first taste of freedom since August.
A mother and daughter are reunited at Melbourne Airport on Wednesday. Fully-vaccinated Australian travellers from overseas will no longer be required to isolate upon arrival in Victoria from November 1
Revellers stop to pose for a photo as a jubilant atmosphere washes over Melbourne as the city’s lockdown finally ended
Overjoyed Melbourne residents savoured their first drink in a pub since August as the city’s lockdown lifted (pictured)
A bartender makes a cocktail just after midnight at Angle Bar in Melbourne. Victoria is moving towards its vaccination targets and a complete reopening
Punters are seen dining outdoors in Lygon Street, Carlton, in Melbourne on Friday. The city has emerged from the world’s longest lockdown, and as vaccination rates continue to rise, even more freedoms are less than two weeks away.
The city has endured a cumulative 262 days in lockdown since the pandemic began – a world record – with non-essential businesses forced to shut and millions trapped in their homes, banned from going outside after 9pm or travelling more than 5km.
Now vaccinated residents are finally free, celebrations mirrored a wild New Year’s Eve party in the nation’s culinary capital as partygoers descended on pubs.
They flashed their vaccinated status upon entry to eagerly awaiting hospitality staff, who had spent much of the day getting ready for the influx of patrons.
For others, midnight finally meant the chance to have their hair cut or get their nails done, with salons opening for the first time – and expecting to continue with round-the-clock appointments for some time to come.
Jubilant scenes played out as swarms of residents descended on bars and restaurants to finally reunite with their mates.
Shake it up!: A cocktail bartender is back in action mixing drinks as the city goes wild on its first night of freedom
Wild scenes erupted on the streets of Melbourne as the clock struck midnight, with millions of long-suffering residents cheering on the end of the world’s longest lockdown (pictured, mates at 3 Monkeys on the city’s Chapel Street)
Cheers!: A groups of mates toast to the end of Victoria’s gruelling stay-at-home orders at a Melbourne bar on Thursday
Melburnians couldn’t wait any longer to catch up with their mates rushing to pubs as the clocks hit midnight (pictured at Leonard’s House of Love in South Yarra)
Party animals hit the streets as the city got it’s first taste of freedom since August when Melbourne’s sixth lockdown was called
Even fast food chains like McDonald’s saw huge crowds with video showing diners lined out into the parking lot, keen to finally enjoy a late-night feast after months under a 9pm curfew.
But while there’s a major sense of relief that the worst of the coronavirus crisis is now over, it’s still too early to ditch face masks, which are still mandatory indoors and outdoors unless eating or drinking.
A number of other hated restrictions will also still be in place along with strict capacity limits on venues and events for at least the next week.
MELBOURNE’S LITANY OF LOCKDOWNS
Lockdown 1: March 31, 2020 to May 12 May 2020 – 43 days
Lockdown 2: July 9, 2020 to October 27, 2020 – 111 days
Lockdown 3: February 13, 2021 to February 17 2021 – 5 days
Lockdown 4: May 28, 2021 to June 10, 2021 – 14 days
Lockdown 5: July 16, 2021 to July 27, 2021 – 12 days
Lockdown 6: August 5, 2021 to October 21 – 78 days as of October 14
The good news is that the city’s reviled and controversial 9pm curfew is now scrapped along with the 15km travel limit.
Residents can now freely move around the Metropolitan area – however regional travel is still off the cards.
Hospitality venues like pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants are allowed to reopen for seated and outdoor service only, with a capacity limit of 20 vaccinated patrons indoors and 50 outdoors.
The vaccination rate will have to surpass 80 per cent before nightclubs, dancing in venues and stand-up drinking is allowed.
General retail will also have to wait until the next vaccination milestone, predicted to be achieved in early November, before trading can return to normal.
From midnight non-essential stores can only operate outdoors or with click and collect services.
Entertainment venues, including cinemas and physical recreation, can go ahead with a maximum of 20 people indoors and 50 outdoor.
Personal services like hairdressers and beauty salons can get back to work with a limit of five patrons after the fashion-conscious city went without a trim for 78-straight days.
But anyone entering any non-essential venue in the state must prove their vaccination status upon entry when they check in via QR code with the Service Victoria app.
Visitors can also show the green tick in their Medicare Express app. Those who can’t prove they’ve had the jab will be refused entry.
Revellers are seen drinking at 3 Monkeys on Chapel Street as Melbourne opened up from lockdown at midnight (pictured)
A group of young men pose for a photo in front of the iconic Flinders Street Train Station as the lockdown lifts – meaning millions are finally allowed out late at night with the curfew scrapped
A full bar waits for cocktails as party-goers celebrate the end of Melbourne’s brutal stay-at-home orders – with masks still mandatory unless eating or drinking
A massive queue is seen lining up at Leonard’s House of Love in South Yarra as Melbourne opened up from lockdown at midnight
Residents can have up to 10 visitors at their homes while outdoor gathering limits will increase from 10 to 15.
Visitors to homes don’t have to be vaccinated but it is highly recommended by the state government and health officials. The same rule applies for outdoor gatherings.
Religious services, weddings and funerals will be able to take place with 50 fully-vaccinated guests outdoors and 20 indoors.
While school children from Year 3 to Year 11 will start returning to the classroom part-time.
Early childcare will also reopen for children of fully vaccinated parents.
The long-awaited reopening was originally supposed to take place on October 26, but was fast-tracked by Premier Andrews who praised Victorians on their ‘mighty’ effort rolling their sleeves.
Victoria’s path to freedom: All the changes for the fully-vaccinated from 11.59pm on October 21
‘Because of everything Victorians have done, tomorrow we can start getting back to the things we love. Thank you Victoria – I’m so proud,’ Daniel Andrews (pictured) tweeted on Thursday
- No restrictions on leaving home and 9pm-5am curfew scrapped with Melburnians allowed to travel freely within the metropolitan region
- Travel between regional Victoria and Melbourne is still off the cards – unless for a permitted reason
Gatherings in the home and public spaces
- Up to ten visitors (including dependents) will be allowed in a home per day
- Up to 15 people can gather outdoors
Venues including hospitality, retail stores and personal services
- Hospitality venues including pubs and clubs will reopen for seated and outdoor service only, with a capacity limit of 20 fully-vaccinated patrons indoors and 50 outdoors
- General retail will reopen for outdoor service only with click and collect services to remain available
- Entertainment venues, including cinemas and physical recreation, will be reopened for 20 fully-vaccinated people indoors and 50 outdoors
- Hairdressers and beauty salons can open with a limit of five patrons
Weddings, funerals, an places of worship
- Religious gatherings, weddings, and funerals will be allowed to take place with 50 fully-vaccinated people outdoors and 20 indoors
Schools and childcare
- Students in Year 3 to Year 11 will start the staggered return to school
- Early childcare will reopen for children of fully vaccinated parents
- Masks will remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk