Covid-19: Dan Andrews announces plans for outdoor dining but refuses to relax Melbourne restrictions

Daniel Andrews used his daily press conference on Wednesday to spruik his plans for more outdoor dining – but refused to end Melbourne‘s crippling restrictions.

The Victorian government has removed the need for pubs and restaurants to get planning permits to put tables on footpaths and roads once they’re allowed to re-open.

But the premier refused to ease restrictions before next week even though the state only recorded three new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, its ninth consecutive day of single-digit figures.

The Victorian government has removed the need for pubs and restaurants to get planning permits to put tables on footpaths and roads once they're allowed to re-open next week. Pictured: A computer-generated image shows a proposal in Melbourne

The Victorian government has removed the need for pubs and restaurants to get planning permits to put tables on footpaths and roads once they’re allowed to re-open next week. Pictured: A computer-generated image shows a proposal in Melbourne

Melbourne residents are still only allowed out of their homes for four reasons while funerals are limited to 10 people and thousands of business are being kept shut.

Asked why he was waiting until Sunday to announce rule changes, the premier said: ‘We have to wait for case numbers each day. I cannot predict what the number will be tomorrow. 

‘I cannot predict what the number will be on Friday. I cannot predict what the number will be on Saturday and therefore we are waiting until Sunday and I don’t think that’s unreasonable.’ 

Mr Andrews was also slammed over his government’s extraordinary back-flip after Racing Minister Martin Pakula announced 1,000 people could attend the Cox Plate horse race before reversing the decision last night following public outrage.  

The plan would have seen 1,250 people over two days attend the Moonee Valley for Friday night’s Manikato Stakes and Saturday’s Cox Plate. 

A premier under fire: Daniel Andrews

A premier under fire: Daniel Andrews

A premier under fire: Daniel Andrews

Mr Andrews, who has previously insisted his decisions are based on science, admitted the plan had been approved by health officials but was scrapped only due to public unpopularity. 

‘It was cancelled because clearly it did not meet the expectations of the Victorian community,’ he said. 

‘It was the wrong call, it has been changed, it will not be happening. Let’s focus not on what’s happening on Saturday, but on what may be able to happen on Sunday, that is further easing of these rules,’ he said.  

One Victorian wrote on Twitter: ‘It has taken a horse race and public outcry to show how unscientific and nonsensical so many of our heartless and cruel restrictions are.’

Also in the press conference, Mr Andrews said an inquiry into the state’s flawed hotel quarantine program had asked him to answer some questions.

‘I would say it is an exercise for completeness’ sake if you like; I’m not changing my evidence,’ he said.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has been asked to provide a new statement to the inquiry after emails emerged contradicting his earlier testimony about when he knew the program was using private security contractors.

Mr Andrews also confirmed Tuesday’s sole coronavirus case is now being treated as a reinfection, rather than a shedding of the virus from a long-past infection.

An expert panel had made the call, after the man originally tested positive in July and recently re-tested as positive for the virus.

‘The case is being managed very cautiously,’ the premier said.

Melbourne’s daily case average dropped to 6.2 and the mystery cases from 5-18 October also fell to 10.

The corresponding figures for regional Victoria remain steady at 0.4 and none.

The state’s death toll remains at 817 and the national figure is 905. Victoria has had only one death in the past week.

All the new cases are in Melbourne, with two related to the northern community outbreak and the other under investigation.

The Victorian government has backflipped over its controversial call to allow a select group of spectators on course for the 100th running of the Cox Plate (racegoers pictured last year)

The Victorian government has backflipped over its controversial call to allow a select group of spectators on course for the 100th running of the Cox Plate (racegoers pictured last year)

The Victorian government has backflipped over its controversial call to allow a select group of spectators on course for the 100th running of the Cox Plate (racegoers pictured last year)

There are 109 active cases in Victoria and the three regional positives remain the greater Shepparton outbreak from last week.

Meanwhile, Mr Andrews says the state is well placed to bring forward a further easing of virus restrictions slated for November 2, including the reopening of retail and hospitality industries in Melbourne.

‘It’s very important that we see this thing off properly, so Sunday will be a day where we can have more to say,’ he said.

On Tuesday, the leaders of seven major businesses, including Wesfarmers, Commonwealth Bank, BHP, Orica, Incitec Pivot, Newcrest and Coca-Cola Amatil sent a joint letter to Mr Andrews pleading for him to allow businesses to reopen.

‘We urge you now, in light of the excellent recent progress, to permit the careful and staged return to the workplace of office workers and the small businesses that provide services to them,’ they said in the letter. 

Victorian Police officers are seen outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne on Monday

Victorian Police officers are seen outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne on Monday

Victorian Police officers are seen outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne on Monday

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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