From 11.59pm yesterday – the originally proposed end-date for the lockdown – residents of Greater Melbourne will still only have five reasons to leave home.
They remain: shopping for food and supplies, authorised work and education, care and caregiving, exercise (for up to two hours and with one other person), and getting vaccinated.
“If we let this thing run its course, it will explode,” Mr Merlino said.
“We’ve got to run this to ground because if we don’t, people will die.”
However, changes will be coming for both the capital and for regional Victoria.
What are the new rules and restrictions for Melbourne?
Mr Merlino said the radius for shopping and exercise had been increased to 10km.
Other changes for Greater Melbourne include a return to in-person learning for Year 11 and Year 12 students, and students in other year levels undertaking a Unit 3/4 VCE subject.
Remote learning will continue for younger students in Melbourne.
There will be no additional pupil-free days during the lockdown
The authorised work category will be expanded to include jobs such as landscaping, painting, installing solar panels, and letterboxing.
“Other restrictions including mask-wearing remain in place,” Mr Merlino said.
“At the end of another seven days, we do expect to be in a position to carefully ease restrictions in Melbourne, but there will continue to be differences between the settings in Melbourne compared to regional Victoria.”
Will regional Victoria still be in lockdown?
Outside Melbourne, the rest of Victoria is under significantly looser restrictions.
This will depend on testing of COVID-19 fragments in wastewater in regional areas over the next 24 hours.
Regional Victorians will no longer be restricted to five reasons to leave home, and travel limits – except to Melbourne – are removed.
Travel to Melbourne is only allowed for limited reasons, and new arrivals must follow city restriction rules while there.
All students in regional Victoria are returning to classrooms on Friday.
Outdoor gatherings can now include up to 10 people, with infants less than a year old not included in that cap. But private household gatherings are still not permitted.
Masks must be worn indoors except for when at home and outdoors if social distancing is not possible.
Food and hospitality is open for seated service only, with a cap of 50 people per venue, subject to density requirements of one per four square metres.
Retail can open and personal services such as beauty and tattooing can resume for services where masks can remain on.
Religious gatherings and ceremonies are permitted for 50 people plus one faith leader indoors or outdoors.
Gathering limits for weddings are 10 people and for funerals, 50 mourners.
Junior outdoor community returns and adults are able to resume training outdoors.
Outdoor pools, including swimming classes, can operate with a limit of 50 people with a density quota of one per four square metres.
Libraries and toy libraries can open with a cap of 50 people subject to density requirements.
Outdoor entertainment, seated and unseated, has a patron cap of 50 people or 50 per cent of the venue’s seating capacity, whichever is lower.
New tracing measures in place
With Melbourne residents still blocked off from the rest of the state, new measures are being put in place to ensure nobody has broken the rules and left the city.
Businesses in categories permitted to open in regional Victoria but not in Melbourne, such as restaurants and beauty parlours, will be required to check the IDs of all customers.
QR code requirements will also be expanded to include state-wide mandatory check-ins for retail settings, such as supermarkets.
What happens after seven days?
Victoria Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said the lockdown would be reviewed day-by-day, and he had “great confidence” the restrictions could ease by the end of next week.
But, he said, that would also depend on the actions of Victorians.
He said people subject to lockdown needed to be staying home “to the fullest extent that they can be”.
“Pre-lockdown, each and every one of us has, on average, about 100 close contacts, unique close contacts,” Professor Sutton said.
“We are all moving around that much, if we are transmitting to other people and they all have 100 close contacts, that is hugely exponential transmission of this virus.”
He said if the number of exposure sites stabilised it would offer “great confidence” for easing restrictions.
People are also urged to continue the high levels of testing and vaccination that have been a feature of the recent lockdown.