$54.5m for Vic business outdoor trading

Melbourne's pubs can open for 20 fully vaccinated customers indoors, and 50 outdoors, from Friday.
Melbourne's pubs can open for 20 fully vaccinated customers indoors, and 50 outdoors, from Friday.

Businesses and councils can apply for a share in a $54.5 million fund to move towards outdoor trading as Victoria emerges from it's sixth COVID-19 lockdown.

The state government on Monday announced the cash so venues can create outdoor dining and bars.

Part of the money will be put aside for a COVIDSafe outdoor activation voucher program of $2000 grants for more than 7000 businesses, valid for expenses including buying and hiring marquees, screens and umbrellas, obtaining insurance and promoting outdoor operations.

Hairdressers, beauty services, retail shops, dance studios and gyms will also be eligible to apply for vouchers.

The remaining $40 million will help local governments create outdoor areas such as upgrading street furniture and creating precincts.

Melbourne will emerge from it's sixth COVID-19 lockdown on Friday as it reaches 70 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage in people aged 16 and up.

But some restrictions will remain, including outdoor dining in order to limit the spread of the virus,

The state on Monday reported 1903 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and seven deaths.

There are now 22,327 active cases and the new deaths take the toll from the current outbreak to 152.

Victoria will also move away from hotel quarantine for fully vaccinated international arrivals, instead moving towards home quarantine.

Premier Daniel Andrews has also confirmed Victoria will not lock down the entire state in future and instead opt for targeted restrictions in "very narrow circumstances".

From 11.59pm on Thursday, all restrictions for leaving home will be dumped along with the city's nightly curfew as lockdown ends five days earlier than previously planned in line with the state reaching its 70 per cent double-dose vaccination target.

Up to 10 visitors will be allowed in a home per day, but retail and gyms in metropolitan Melbourne have to remain closed.

Hairdressing and beauty salons can open for up to five fully vaccinated people at a time, while pubs, clubs and entertainment venues will be able to host 20 fully vaccinated customers indoors and 50 outdoors.

Isolation orders for fully vaccinated non-household primary close contacts will also be halved from 14 days to seven.

Restrictions are slated to ease further when 80 per cent of the eligible population has received both vaccine doses, forecast by some data analysts to be as early as October 31.

Australian Associated Press