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Melbourne to exit fourth lockdown on Friday

Melbourne will ease its way out of a hard lockdown on Friday, with retailers set to trade once more by the week’s end.

Melbournians will be able to move more freely as of Thursday, 11:59 pm, though will still be restricted to within 25km of their home.

Some indoor businesses, such as gyms and indoor sports venues, will remain closed.

“This is a good day, everyone should be absolutely proud of what we’ve all achieved together,” acting premier James Merlino said, according to the ABC.

“But we know that this isn’t over and until we have widespread vaccination across Victoria and across out country, the virus will still be with us.”

National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said the business sector will largely be breathing a sigh of relief tonight.

“Victoria [was] dealt a particularly brutal blow. Not only has it been the state’s fourth lockdown, but Victorian businesses have had to navigate this one without the Jobkeeper safety net,” Lamb said.

“The NRA estimates that the fourth Victorian lockdown has cost retail businesses a collective $2 billion over the 14-day stretch. We urge shoppers the make a conscious effort to support local retailers.”

QR check ins will now be compulsory across all workplaces after a number of outbreaks in office settings.

Victorian chamber of commerce and industry chief executive Paul Guerra said the easing of restrictions was welcome, but not quite the snapback he was hoping for.

“We went fast in [to lockdown], but we are crawling out,” Guerra said.

“While most businesses across the state can now open, we need to see further easing of restrictions to enable all businesses to get back to viable trade as soon as possible to keep jobs, businesses, livelihoods, culture and prosperity alive in Victoria.”

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