Lockdown: Victoria’s new “social bubble” explained

Yesterday, Daniel Andrews revealed Victoria’s roadmap to reopening, including extended Stage 4 lockdown and newly introduced “social bubbles”.

Despite earlier predictions being leaked and then seemingly retracted, yesterday Premier Daniel Andrews announced that Melbourne would, in fact, be in for another 2 weeks of Stage 4 lockdown.

The news was part of Victoria’s larger restriction-easing roadmap which includes the introduction of social bubbles, amongst other things.

victoria lockdown
Photo: Gavin John

Originally meant to be lifted on September 13, Stage 4 lockdown will continue to operate until September 28 for metropolitan Melbourne with some slight adjustments. Curfew hours will now be instated from 9 pm-5 am rather than 8 pm-5 am and exercise time has now been extended from 1 hour to 2 hours maximum per day.

A maximum of two people from different houses (or all the members of one house) will now also be allowed to meet up outdoors for a maximum of two hours. The same reasons to leave home remain (exercise, medical attention, shopping for essential goods) and residents are still limited to a 5km radius from their house.

Meanwhile, regional Victoria will see their Stage 4 lockdowns easing to Stage 3 come September 13. Outdoor gatherings of up to five people from a maximum of two households will also now be allowed.

Another big change for both regional and metropolitan Victoria is the instigation of “social bubbles”, which enable households of one person to have one other person visit. Previously, this would have been limited to partners only, but now it can be anyone.

One catch is that this visitor has to be the same person throughout the extent of lockdown – so when choosing your lockdown buddy, choose wisely. On the plus side, whoever you choose to be your buddy doesn’t have to also live alone (they are permitted to have a partner and children); however, they must be alone when you visit them (unless they have dependent children).

Moving forward, on September 28, if case numbers are down between 30-50, up to 5 people will be able to meet outdoors in metropolitan areas and workplaces will be able to open once more. Then, if the daily cases are 5 or less by October 26, the curfew, the 5km radius, and restrictions on reasons to leave the house will all be lifted. If there are no new cases reported for two weeks by November 23, the restrictions will continue to ease.

You can read the roadmap in full here.