Melbourne lockdown curfew will NOT be lifted early to allow pubgoers to travel to venues

Victoria’s COVID commander has confirmed there will be no “leave pass” for customers hoping to travel during curfew in order to get to pubs before the lockdown ends.

Melbourne’s controversial curfew will be lifted as lockdown finishes at 11.59pm on Thursday, and residents will be able to travel during the hours of 9pm and 5am again.

Many pubs, restaurants and hairdressers had planned to open at midnight.

But due to the curfew still being in place, customers cannot actually leave their homes to travel to venues until after 11.59pm.

On Wednesday, Jeroen Weimar confirmed this was the case.

“The curfew applies until midnight tomorrow night,” he said.

Victorian COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar. Credit: DANIEL POCKETT/AAPIMAGE

“There is no leave pass between 9pm and midnight tomorrow night, so you’ll have to wait for the witching hour to strike and then you can make your way down to the local pub.”

Asked if police would issues fines to people on their way to a venue while the curfew remained in place, Weimar said that was a matter for the Chief Commissioner.

“The real point for me is around what behaviours we want to encourage. We all want to be able to go and have a drink at midnight tomorrow. We all want to enjoy those new freedoms,” he said.

“But can we all just remember this is an important step, it’s not a mass freedom day.”

While customers have to wait until midnight to leave their homes, hospitality staff can head to venues before the curfew is lifted in order to prepare for patrons.

Lockdown ending

From 11.59pm on Thursday, the lockdown will lift with the state beginning to open up with a new roadmap in place.

Ten people, including dependents, can visit private homes each day and outdoor gatherings can include up to 15 people in metropolitan Melbourne and 20 in the regions.

There will no longer be limited reasons to leave home and the curfew will end.

Pubs and restaurants can open to 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 50 outdoors.

Hairdressers and personal care can reopen for up to five fully vaccinated people.

Weddings and funerals in metropolitan Melbourne will be allowed to go ahead with 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 50 outdoors. In regional Victoria, these limits will be slightly higher, with 30 mourners indoors and 100 outside.

The travel radius will be lifted, but movement between Melbourne and regional Victoria is still only for permitted reasons.

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