The auctioneer’s hammer is expected to fall out the front of Melbourne properties again in late October, after the Victorian Government outlined the state’s roadmap out of lockdown on Sunday.
Premier Daniel Andrews unveiled the detailed plan to live alongside COVID-19, with restrictions set to ease in stages, as more of the population is vaccinated.
He said when 70 per cent of eligible Victorians are double vaccinated, Melbourne’s lockdown would end, and on-site, outdoor auctions could go ahead with as many as 50 fully vaccinated attendees.
This milestone is tipped to occur around October 26.
“As more and more Victorians get that protection (vaccinated), we move to the next phase of the pandemic, and we have the opportunity to open up,” Mr Andrews said.
“The path to being open again will be difficult – but essential to moving forward as a state.”
Until then, only remote auctions will be allowed in Melbourne, and in-person inspections will stay restricted to single households with the agent remaining outside. The home’s occupants must also vacate the property at this time.
Currently, inspections with up to 10 people, plus the agent, and on-site auctions with as many as 10 people are already allowed in regional Victoria.
This is with the exception of Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire, which went back into a seven-day lockdown this morning.
The regional Victorian caps will rise to 30 fully vaccinated people indoors and 100 fully vaccinated attendees outdoors once 70 per cent of Victorians have had both jabs.
Once Victoria hits a double-dose vaccination rate of 80 per cent, Melbourne and regional Victoria’s restrictions will be identical.
This is expected to be on or about November 5.
The roadmap states at this time up to 150 double-vaccinated attendees can participate in real estate activity indoors, while as many as 500 people can be outside.
Exactly what this consists of is not yet clear, with no other information provided in the roadmap.
In unveiling the roadmap, Mr Andrews said opening up too soon, before Victorians had the chance to get the jab, would mean the state’s hospital system would not cope and “catastrophic” numbers of Victorians would become very unwell.
“While we’re no longer aiming for COVID zero, it’s imperative we don’t jeopardise our health system as we open up – too many Victorians rely on it every day,” he said.
“The COVID-19 thresholds detailed in the roadmap will be important to maintain as we move through the different stages in order to safeguard the health system.”
But some restrictions are expected to ease much sooner, with the roadmap outlining that outdoor recreational sports, such as tennis and basketball, could be reopened around September 26, once 80 per cent of Victorians have had a single jab.
On October 5, VCE students will sit the GAT test and Year 12 and final-year VCAL and International Baccalaureate students will return to school.
Prep, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students will go back to school part-time from October 18.
“When Victoria reaches 70 per cent double-dose vaccination, changes will include an increase in numbers for public gatherings outdoors, funerals, weddings and religious gatherings – with larger caps for people who are fully vaccinated,” Mr Andrews said.
“Creative studios, amusement parks, entertainment venues and hospitality will also reopen with patron cap and density limits but only to people who are fully vaccinated.
“As we’ve flagged before, there will come a time when Victorians who choose not to get vaccinated will be left behind – that time has now been firmly set in the roadmap.”
To read the full roadmap, click here.