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Victorian Cafes And Pubs To Allow 20 Patrons From June 1

Victoria is taking its "cautious first steps towards opening up", with Premier Daniel Andrews announcing cafes, restaurants and pubs will be allowed to admit diners from June.

Addressing the media on Sunday morning, Andrews said the state's testing regime has given him the confidence to allow the gradual reopening of the hospitality sector.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants venues will be able to host up to 20 diners in an enclosed space from June 1. While 20 patrons will allow to visit pubs and restaurants at the beginning of next month, this will increase to 50 by June 22.  During the second half of July this will increase to 100.

"We need to be really clear though - this is not a done deal," Andrews said, warning the plan could change or be delayed if the virus's spread increased at an alarming rate.

The premier stressed social distancing measures -- which are being hashed out with industry -- will have to be followed and will include cleaning standard and testing protocols for hospitality staff.

"It is a long and extensive set of rules," Andrews told reporters on Sunday.

Social distancing will need to be enforced at cafes and restaurants, with one person per four square metres, tables will need to be set 1.5 metres apart. All diners will need to provide names and contact details "to assist in rapid contact tracing", Andrews said.

Despite the upcoming restrictions being eased, the Premier wants people to stay working from home instead of returning to their offices.

"If you can work from home, you must work from home," Andrews said.

National

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Victorian students will return to face-to-face learning by the end of term, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed today while noting this will involve a "staggered return".

Victoria recorded another seven COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the state's total so far to 1561.

The restriction easing comes after another 50,000 tests were conducted in the past week, with the state government given confidence by the low rates of community transmission.

Victoria has the highest testing rate in Australian with 5102 per 100,000 people getting tested for the virus.

Incidences of community transmission are very low in Victoria, the state's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos says.

"The results to date have been very promising and show we are heading in the right direction," she told reporters.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au