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As it happened: Victorians allowed gatherings of 20 people; tourist accommodation, cafes, pubs and restaurants to reopen from June 1

Victorians will have new (old) freedoms from Monday, June 1 – that’s just seven days from today, for those who are counting.

Here are some of the key changes, announced by the Premier this morning, that will come into effect from June 1:

  • Victorians will be allowed gatherings of up to 20 people in their homes, including the members of a household. For a family of five, that means 15 visitors.
  • Public gatherings (indoor and outdoor) will increase to 20 people.
  • Cafes, restaurants and pubs may serve meals to up to 20 people.
  • Overnight stays will be allowed in both private residences and hotels.
  • Campgrounds, caravan parks and tourist accommodation allowed to reopen, as long as shared bathroom and kitchen facilities are not used.
  • Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, spas, tattoo parlours and massage parlours may reopen with up to 20 patrons.
  • Galleries, museums, zoos, historic sites, arcades, drive-in cinemas and outdoor amusement parks will reopen with up to 20 patrons per space.
  • Weddings will be allowed up to 20 people, plus the celebrant and couple.
  • Funerals can increase to 50 people (indoors and outdoors).
  • Religious services may increase to up to 20 people, plus those required to conduct the ceremony.
  • Bootcamps can increase to 20 people, plus an instructor.
  • Auction houses, real estate auctions and open house inspections can increase to 20 people.
  • Libraries, youth centres and other community facilities allowed to reopen with no more than 20 people in a single area, plus those needed to operate the space.

with Rachael Dexter

The State Library of Victoria needs more time to prepare its emergence from COVID-19 lockdown and will not re-open on June 1, its CEO Kate Torney says.

Allowing just 20 people at a time in the Domed Reading Room and having to register online before visiting are among strict rules being considered for when the library does re-open.

In the Dome, alone, for now: State Library of Victoria CEO Kate Torney.

In the Dome, alone, for now: State Library of Victoria CEO Kate Torney.Credit:Eddie Jim

There will be more frequent cleaning of public surfaces and the 24 hour quarantining of books after users return them — a policy adopted by the State Library of New South Wales — is also being considered.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday that libraries can re-open from June 1, with no more than 20 people in a single area, plus those needed to operate the space.

Click here to read the full story.

St Kilda will meet the Western Bulldogs, West Coast will play the Gold Coast and Fremantle will take on the Brisbane Lions when the AFL resumes for its much-awaited Round 2.

Geelong and Hawthorn, two of football’s fiercest rivals, will meet on Friday night, June 12, the night after Collingwood and Richmond play the first game since the competition was shut down due the coronavirus.

Saint Jake Steele evades Marcus Bontempelli during last year's Marvel Stadium clash.

Saint Jake Steele evades Marcus Bontempelli during last year’s Marvel Stadium clash.Credit:AAP

Well-placed sources expect Carlton to meet Melbourne, probably at Marvel Stadium, and Sydney to host Essendon at the SCG to complete Round 2.

Click here to read the full story.

The Morrison government is planning to use its climate solutions fund to deliver a world-first scheme to financially reward farmers who protect sensitive ecosystems, restore native habitat, store carbon or make other environmental improvements.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud wants to create a “world precedent” with a biodiversity stewardship program under the $2 billion fund, whereby farmers could realise financial rewards for reducing greenhouse emissions while improving biodiversity on their land.

The Biodiversity Stewardship Fund could fund landscape improvements like those undertaken in the NT by Lakefield Station pastoralists Gary and Michelle Riggs.

The Biodiversity Stewardship Fund could fund landscape improvements like those undertaken in the NT by Lakefield Station pastoralists Gary and Michelle Riggs.Credit:David Hancock / Pew Charitable Trusts.

“[The program] can help us address our global responsibility around emissions and pay farmers for improving the environment,” Mr Littleproud said.

That could mean fencing off wetlands from grazing, managing feral pest populations, planting trees for nature corridors and balancing the need to maximise pasture or crop growth with sustainable practices that promote soil health and enriches land with organic matter and carbon from the atmosphere.

Click here to read the full story.

Fears of a booze-fuelled lockdown are fading as new figures show sales of alcohol have plummeted by volume as well as value.

Alcohol producers and distributors report selling 61 per cent less alcohol in April by volume than the same time in 2019. The figures put out by the Beverages Council on Sunday suggest demand has recovered slightly in May but was still 32 per cent lower in the first two weeks of the month than a year ago.

The news comes the same week as a national survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found one in seven people have been drinking more than usual in the month to early May, but one in 10 were drinking less.

The ABS reports 18 per cent of women are drinking more during lockdown.

The ABS reports 18 per cent of women are drinking more during lockdown.Credit:File

Nicole Lee, professor at the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University, said the question was whether people were drinking to excess rather than whether they were drinking more or less.

Click here to read the full story.

Australia’s education system is above the OECD average in a number of depressing ways, notably the gap between those most advantaged and those who are disadvantaged. Our schools serve as cushions for these effects, but it is beyond the scope of education to solve these issues.

It is not news to my teaching colleagues, those who prop up a flawed system with their overwork, that some students will be disadvantaged during this recent period of remote learning.

Our Prime Minister said: “We know for some families and students … distance learning won’t be possible and their education, what they learn, is at great risk of suffering this year”.

Any drawbacks from remote learning can be quickly overcome; issues affecting education are more systemic.

Any drawbacks from remote learning can be quickly overcome; issues affecting education are more systemic. Credit:AP

This is true of a great many students learning remotely or not. This will persist unless desperate action is taken.

Steven Kolber teaches at Brunswick Secondary College.

Click here to read the full piece.

Some wise words in this story on the mental health crisis and unemployment during COVID-19.

UPDATED: Physical distancing and handwashing are still the order of the day but socialising, in moderation, and gathering in (small) groups outdoors are back in our tentative post-ISO world.

With the number of COVID-19 cases relatively low compared with most other nations, the federal government has provided a three-step roadmap for states and territories to start carefully relaxing some restrictions on our movement.

The usual “common sense” caveats remain.

“Regulation can achieve things but every individual has to do more than regulation,” says Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy.

Social distancing and hand hygiene are key ways to prevent a dreaded second wave of infections.

“So if you’re going to a shopping centre to buy something, go and buy something but don’t hang around the shopping centre for half-an-hour mingling for no purpose – go home,” Murphy said on May 10.

“If you are arriving at a shopping centre and you find a crowd at an escalator not wanting to practise social distancing or crowding together, don’t go in – leave, come back later.

“If you see someone not practising social distancing or behaving irresponsibly, tell them. If a lift opens and you find it’s full of people, don’t get in.”

Click here to read the full story.

More than a quarter of a million small businesses are not fully eligible for JobKeeper because the payment is restricted to one partner in a partnership.

The federal government structured it this way despite lobbying from the accounting industry to extend it to at least two partners to cover the vast majority of business partnerships.

The decision affects partnerships such as Fiona Gohari and Bobby Aazami from Lane Cove, who are married and also work as wedding photographers in their business Fiona + Bobby Photography.

Fiona Gohari and Bobby Aazami are wedding photographers in a family partnership but the business can only receive JobKeeper for one of them.

Fiona Gohari and Bobby Aazami are wedding photographers in a family partnership but the business can only receive JobKeeper for one of them.Credit:James Brickwood

“When we heard about JobKeeper we thought it was just such an amazing thing but there was a part of us that felt like maybe it’s too good to be true,” Ms Gohari said.

“When we found out that only one of us qualifies, it just didn’t make sense and it was really disappointing.”

Click here to read the full story.

Richmond superstar Dustin Martin is adamant a third AFL premiership would mean just as much as the first two – even if it comes during the coronavirus-affected 2020 season.

The Tigers’ flag defence was put on hold in March after just one round because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Dustin Martin has enjoyed the downtime brought by the league shutdown.

Dustin Martin has enjoyed the downtime brought by the league shutdown.Credit:AAP

Richmond have not won back-to-back premierships since 1974 and are aiming to hold the trophy aloft for the third time in four seasons to cement their spot as one of the great modern-day sides.

Even with the fixture-list slashed to 17 rounds, quarters shortened and fans indefinitely barred from attending games, Martin believes winning a grand final would still be a significant achievement.

“It’s certainly going to be different but it will certainly mean just as much,” the two-time Norm Smith medallist said.

AAP

Click here to read the full story.

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