Other restrictions likely to lifted or eased on Sunday are those related to social and family gatherings in outdoor settings, such as the number of people you can have at a picnic.
While Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed this week that golf clubhouses won’t be reopening, he promised that the government would try to allow people to start doing the things they love, which could signal the return of outdoor sports like tennis and golf.
The decision-making process was expected to go well into Saturday night to take advantage of the most recent data, with Mr Andrews previously saying the changes that will be announced would be in the “low-risk category”.
University of Melbourne professor of epidemiology Tony Blakely said earlier this week he expected a “fairly modest” set of changes.
“I don’t think we’re quite ready to get the restaurateurs back in big business,” he said. “I assume we will focus on those that are solo operators, trying to get as many of those back to work as we can, but not opening up the pubs at this point.
“I think we’ll go halfway between step two and step three.”
Despite calls from Health Minister Greg Hunt on Saturday that Victoria had met the public health benchmarks to re-allow “hospitality, movement and family reunions among others”, it appears unlikely this will change in the short-term.
Daniel Andrews has all but ruled out letting retail or hospitality open up as part of Sunday’s announcement, even for outdoor dining. But he has hinted more detail on opening up closed businesses in Melbourne could follow within days.
While the ‘ring of steel’ separating Melbourne and regional Victoria will not be removed this week, there will additional relief for regional Victoria announced, potentially around limits at hospitality venues.
Had Victoria’s case numbers met the threshold – five or fewer mystery cases between October 4 and October 18 and no more than five cases per day over that period – the state would have moved to step three in the COVID-19 roadmap on Sunday.
Under step three, Melburnians would have been able to create a “household bubble” with one other nominated household, allowing up to five visitors at a time.
Hospitality businesses would have been allowed to open for predominantly ‘outdoor seated service’, and hairdressers would have reopened.
Ashleigh McMillan is a breaking news reporter at The Age. Got a story? Email me at email@example.com