It's beginning to look a lot more like the Christmas we hoped for after Premier Daniel Andrews revealed sweeping changes to the state's COVID-19 restrictions.
Large family Christmas gatherings are back on the calendar with up to 30 people, including dependents, allowed to visit homes from 11.59pm on Sunday December 13 allowing families to enjoy Christmas Day together.
And from today, the number of people allowed to visit the home increases from two to 15 allowing for smaller gatherings and celebrations in the coming weeks.
For get-togethers outdoors at parks and beaches the number jumps to 50 people.
Victorians have done an amazing job and built something so so precious, but it is fragile and each of us needs to play our part.Premier Daniel Andrews
The state has recorded 23 days of no new coronavirus cases and no deaths.
Masks do not need to be worn outdoors but must be carried and worn if a group of people are unable to appropriately distance such as busy markets or in queues.
Melburnians have been required to wear face masks outside since mid-July. As virus cases leaked out of the city, the rules were implemented for regional Victorians in early August.
"Masks are playing a very important part in delivering these low numbers and containing the spread of the virus," Mr Andrews said.
"If you go to Bunnings, in store you need to wear a mask, in the car park you don't need to wear a mask but if you queue up for a sausage with other people not keeping a distance apart you need to put a mask on," Mr Andrews said.
Just to reiterate:— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) November 22, 2020
Inside Bunnings = mask
Bunnings carpark if you can keep 1.5m apart = no mask
In the Bunnings sausage sizzle line = mask
Onions = on top of the sausage
I can't be clearer than that.
Mr Andrews revealed good news for the hospitality sector, with larger venues now capped at a maximum of 300 patrons with 150 inside, subject to the one person per four square metre density limit.
Australian Hotels Association president David Canny said the 150 was a step in the right direction for hotels and hoped the number would increase when the next announcement is made in two weeks.
"For a lot of pubs that 150 model indoors will be okay but some of the big pubs would like a straight square metre per person limit," to allow more patrons in COVID safety, Mr Canny said.
But smaller hospitality venues such as cafes and restaurants celebrated a win with Mr Andrews lowering the density limit to one person per two square metres with a cap of 50 patrons.
Weddings and funerals held indoors or outdoors can host 150 people, with the one in four square metre density limit, and religious ceremonies can be held indoors with 150 worshippers or 300 outdoors.
With temperatures starting to climb ahead of the official start of summer, outdoor pools will be able to have 300 people cooling off in their facility at any one time, and indoor pools will have a maximum of 150 patrons at any one time.
And gyms will be able to open more members through their doors to work out with a cap of 150 people in groups of 20 and a density limit of one per four square metres.
Indoor physical recreation and sport must follow the same rules as gyms, while outdoor sport can commence with 500 people in groups of 50, and large sporting venues can be at 25 per cent capacity.
"Victorians have done an amazing job and built something so so precious, but it is fragile and each of us needs to play our part," Mr Andrews said.
"These rules are a reflection of the best public health advice, listening and being driven by science and data and trying to get people back to as close to normal as possible."
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Ararat Advertiser, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ararat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.