REGIONAL Victoria will take the first step toward a "COVID normal" next Sunday, while its Melbourne counterpart has had stage-four restrictions extended.
From 11.59pm Sunday, September 13, regional Victoria will move from stage three restrictions to a "Second Step" of reopening.
The second stage allows a maximum of five people from two households to gather together in outdoor public places for social interaction. Infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap.
A "single person bubble" has also been introduced that is similar to the "intimate partner" ruling.
People living alone can nominate one visitor who can visit each other's houses. Single parents of children under-18 are included.
Outdoor pools and playgrounds will also open, and students will return to onsite learning from the 12th of October.
Regional Victoria will then begin a move toward a third step of reopening, which is dependent on the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded across a 14-day period.
The third step includes the reopening of more businesses and a situation Victorian Premier Dan Andrews described as "relatively normal".
Mr Andrews said the move to step three could happen "in a matter of weeks".
"We believe regional Victoria will be able to move to the third step quite soon," he said.
"That would mean more shops open, more people back at work. Relatively normal, certainly compared to the situation that metropolitan Melbourne will be in.
"It will be a move to step two then reassess based on total numbers over a 14-day period."
For metropolitan Melbourne, the stage-four restrictions were extended for two more weeks, until September 28.
Mr Andrews said it was the only safe way to progress.
The modelling says that if we open up too fast, then we have a very high likelihood that we're not opening up at all, we're just welcoming a third wave," he said.
"We can't run out of lockdown, we have to take steady and safe steps out of lockdown to find that COVID-normal.
"We must make sure that in opening up, we must be able to stay open.
"There is no choice but to do this in a safe and steady way."
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