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Daniel Andrews announces ‘massive’ change to easing of Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions

Victoria will “flick the switch” and further ease COVID-19 restrictions on Friday at 6pm, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.

The new ‘freedoms’ will come ahead of a “fundamental” change in rules when the state hits 90 per cent, he added.

The premier on Sunday announced the eased restrictions will kick in on Friday at 6pm, when around 80 per cent of the population aged over 16 is expected to be fully vaccinated.

These will include the scrapping of outdoor face masks, the return of regional travel across the state, and the opening of indoor entertainment venues, gyms and retail for the fully vaccinated.

Capacity limits will also increase for restaurants, pubs and cafes.

The state is due to hit the 90 per cent target for 12 year olds and over on 24 November, Mr Andrews said, which will trigger sweeping changes to the rules Victorian residents are currently living under.

At 90 per cent, there will be “a fundamental change, a massive change, in many respects, to the rules that we have all been living under”, Mr Andrews said.

“What that means is, there will be no caps anywhere. There will be no density quotas anywhere. Masks will only be required in high-risk indoor settings, such as public transport, prisons, hospitals, aged care, to give you some examples.”

The “vaccinated economy” is “here to stay”, Mr Andrews said.

“We will retain the vaccinated economy, all those requirements, all those settings, where you only get in if you are double vaccinated, and you can tap and verify that for everybody.

“There is a there is a fundamental agreement that we have reached with the Victorian community. We asked you to get vaccinated. You have done that in record time any record numbers. And that means we have to open the place up,” he said.

Premier Andrews said he wants a 80,000-plus crowd for day one of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG but said all would have to be double-dose vaccinated.

The announcement came as Victoria recorded 1,935 new local coronavirus cases and 11 more deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday night.

There are now 787 Victorians hospitalised with COVID-19 and 146 in ICU, 93 on ventilation.

The latest deaths take the toll from the current outbreak to 223.

On the first weekend since Melbourne’s 77-day lockdown ended, the state is managing nearly 25,000 active cases.

More than 99,000 Victorians were vaccinated on Friday, helping the state reach 90.2 per cent first dose among those aged 16 and over, while 73.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.