Premier Daniel Andrews says one of the first lockdown restrictions to be eased up is the isolation of single-person and single-parents households.
Under Victoria’s roadmap out of current restrictions, single-person and single-parent households throughout the state will be allowed to create a “social bubble” with one other person from September 14.
And from October 26, if daily cases continue to decline enough, all Melbourne households will be able to nominate one other household to visit or have visit them.
Regional Victorians may be able to create household bubbles in about a month.
What is the single social bubble?
From Monday September 14, people living alone and single-parent households will be able to nominate one other person as a visitor.
Mr Andrews said creating a social bubble for singles was a measure taken “in direct response to feedback we have received from those have been isolated away from anyone else a long period of time”.
He said the bubbles would be similar to the intimate partner arrangements in place now.
“Those who live alone will be able to partner up with somebody else and they will be able to visit each other,” he said.
The nominated person can be outside the single person’s or single parent’s 5-kilometre radius.
Only one person in the bubble needs to be living alone or in a single-parent household.
But the nightly curfew, which is being pushed later to 9:00pm, will apply.
The allowance does not apply to single parents living with a child aged 18 or older.
Can my nominated person be in regional Victoria if I am in Melbourne?
Unlike the intimate partner rule, the bubbles are restricted to metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria.
So, for example, you cannot travel to regional Victoria to visit someone there if you live in Melbourne.
Can I visit my nominated person if they live with others?
The Government hasn’t been very clear on this yet.
Mr Andrews said someone living alone could link up with someone else who is “not in the same circumstances”.
In other words, the nominated person doesn’t have to be another single person and can live in a house with others,
But it is not clear whether the person or single-parent can visit the home of their nominated person if that person lives with others.
A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said they could not clarify this yet, but details on the bubble rules would soon be published on a website dedicated to the new roadmap.
What about the ‘household bubbles’?
From October 26, up to five people from two households can visit each other in their homes in metropolitan Melbourne.
Regional Victorians are likely to have this option before October 26. It’ll be allowed when there’s an average of five or fewer new cases in country Victoria (over a 14-day period), and no mystery cases.
Mr Andrews said that was likely to be in four weeks’ time.
“It is highly likely, not certain, but highly likely we will meet that case threshold,” he said.
By the time Melburnians can create their household bubbles, the restrictions around travel will no longer apply so the two households do not need to be within 5 kilometres of each other and can be in either regional Victoria or metropolitan Melbourne.
The curfew will also no longer be in force.
You can only have five people to visit regardless of how many people live in your nominated household. Babies under 12 months do not count.
How will the rules be enforced?
Mr Andrews admitted the rules would be difficult to police.
There will be no official record of the bubbles.
“What I am doing is I am asking people, in recognition of the challenge and the difficulty and the great sacrifice that people who live alone, the great contribution that they have made to this point, I am asking them to follow these rules,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is this, short of having a police officer knock on every door in the state, we can’t be absolutely certain [they will].”