A glimmer of hope has just been given to Melbourne’s churchgoers, with Premier Daniel Andrews announcing the city’s re-opening process will begin at midnight tomorrow, Tuesday October 27.
Churches and other faith gatherings will be able to meet with a maximum of 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors, with the addition of one faith leader in both cases.
Similarly, weddings will increase to 10 people, and funerals up to 20 mourners.
Restrictions will be further loosened after November 8. Then, 20 people will be allowed to gather at an indoor faith gathering and 50 outdoors (both with an added faith leader).
For those who travel to get to church, it’s notable that a 25-kilometre travel limit will remain in place until November 8 at least, as well as the regional/metropolitan border.
For Christians wanting to gather in small groups in addition to formal church, outdoor gatherings remain at a maximum of 10 people (infants under 12 months are not included). However, these gatherings will no longer be limited to just two households (although the total number cannot exceed 10 people in total).
In loosening the restrictions, Andrews thanked Melburnians for their cooperation and patience.
“We are able to say that now is the time to open up. Now is the time to congratulate every single Victorian for staying the course. Now’s the time to thank every single Victorian family for being guided by the data, the science and the doctors, not letting that frustration get the better of us, but instead proving equal to this wicked enemy… indeed better than this wicked enemy.”
However, he also warned about the seriousness of the virus spreading and the imperative to ensure COVID safety plans are followed.
“This virus is absolutely deadly,” he said.