Finally, the news we’ve been hoping and praying for

Today’s announcement by the Premier regarding this latest round of easing restrictions has been a watershed moment for an industry that’s been on its knees for months now. VTIC has been advocating hard for a definitive timeline as to when our industry can expect to reopen and welcome guests from metropolitan Melbourne back to regional Victoria.

The news we’ve all been waiting for was finally delivered and from 11.59pm on Tuesday 27 October, our bars, restaurants, cafes and retail will reopen across metro Melbourne. With that, the revival of our beautiful city can get underway and the ability to reconnect on a more personal level can resume.

Most importantly, from 11.59pm on Sunday 8 November, the ring of steel will officially be lifted between metro Melbourne and regional Victoria allowing Melburnians to finally venture into regional Victoria after so many weeks of strict lockdown.

I know we were hoping to see a resumption of regional travel by the Melbourne Cup long weekend, but previous indications were that we might need to wait until 30 November to see this step occur. Many of you, I’m sure, have taken bookings for that long weekend and, with today’s advice, will need to connect with customers from metro Melbourne and hopefully shift them to a date post 8 November. We have been made aware of issues with bookings that were taken for the period from 2 November for customers within the 25 km current restriction. Under previous guidelines dated 18 October, these accommodation bookings were permitted. We’ve taken this issue up as a matter of urgency and will report back as soon as possible.

Over the past 24 hours, we’ve also seen a welcome shift in the rules for our tour and transport operators to allow them to use their tour vehicles for up to 30 minutes in transporting guests to the experience. These changes have also accommodated the needs of our helicopter tours, allowing them the chance to resume flying, under restricted guidelines.

We’ve also seen our theatres, galleries and auditoriums now classified as permitted industries in using these facilities for broadcast purposes, meaning our events sector can now undertake virtual events from studio venues.

There is still much more work to do and many parts of our industry that need an urgent plan for reopening. VTIC has pushed hard for every change we’re seeing to this point, and we will continue to fight for the reactivation of our entire industry. Our recovery can only commence in earnest when our industry is fully activated once again.

2020 has been a long and devastating year, but little wins like we’ve had today must give us hope that we’re on a more positive path to a COVID-normal future, whatever that looks like.

You can read the full Statement from the Premier here.

> View the metro Melbourne summary of easing of restrictions 

> View the regional Victoria summary of easing of restrictions

*Please note, we are seeking clarity on definitions and guidelines relating to SMALL and LARGE vehicles in the tours and transport sections of both the metro and regional summaries of easing of restrictions.
Visit hub.vtic.com.au for business support resources to guide your planning and response, including vital information on creating a COVID Safe plan.