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BREAKING: Victoria Retail Reopens Wednesday, Zero COVID Cases In State

Victoria will officially reopen all retail Wednesday, four days earlier than expected, after its first day of zero new COVID-19 cases since June.

At a press conference this afternoon, Premier Dan Andrews announced that from 11:59pm tomorrow night, Victorians will be able to leave home for any reason at all, though the 25km-from-home limit will remain.

“Under the Third Step, Melbourne’s cafes, restaurants and pubs can reopen.  Outdoors with a limit of up to 50, indoors up to 20. Density limits, record keeping and COVIDSafe Plans also apply.

“Remaining retail will also open. Beauty and personal care services can resume. And for those businesses who need to get ready for their reopening – staff will be able to attend onsite straight away,” he said.

More businesses will be able to reopen as well, though Andrews did stress one caveat.

“Workplaces will no longer need to be on the permitted work list to open and the ability to work will change to ‘if you can work from home you must work from home’,” he said.

The Australian Retailers Association has celebrated the move to bring retail out of lockdown earlier than expected, with CEO Paul Zahra hailing it as a welcome relief for Victorians whose mental health and wellbeing have taken a hit over the past several months.

“We are pleased at this stage that there are no further retail restrictions than those which have already been communicated, most which have proven to keep shopping a safe experience. This is a point we advocated strongly for, given the exemplary safety performance of retailers throughout the pandemic.

“The flow on effects from Victorian retail reopening will be felt around the country, allowing national retailers to resume normal operations during the all-important Christmas trading period,” he said.

Zahra has hailed the news as part of a “happy Christmas for Victoria”, saying the state plays a vital role in the national retail industry.

“It is the heart of the distribution and warehousing and it makes up a quarter of national retail sales. It’s not Christmas without Victoria – we are elated that Christmas is finally on in every state and territory, now that Victoria will finally be open for the holiday shopping season,” he said.

The good news follows an anxious day yesterday, when the Premier announced 1000 COVID swabs were being processed from Melbourne’s northern suburbs; every single one of those swabs came back negative.

Victoria was originally slated to reopen retail on November 1.

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