It’s a party of five!

A gathering of seven! Quill, Trixie, Cooper, Stanley, Fish, George and Hugo (front) were thrilled to be out and about in the sunshine. Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS 216724_03

Cardinia Shire residents have finally taken their first steps down the path towards our new Covid normal, as restrictions begin to slowly ease.

Premier Daniel Andrews, on Sunday 27 September, scaled back some of the tough restrictions gripping metropolitan Melbourne, giving locals a taste of what’s to come.

The State’s move to the third and last steps of the roadmap will no longer be defined by set dates. Instead, the public health team will re-evaluate restrictions by reaching case number targets.

“The latest modelling shows that our strategy is working. Not only have we been able to drive down cases from the hundreds – we’re well on-track to hit single digits in the next few weeks,” Mr Andrews said.

“That allows us to make some small, but significant changes.”

From 11.59pm on Sunday, Melbourne officially entered the second step towards reopening, which has allowed groups of up to five – from across two households – to meet outdoors.

Personal trainers can meet with two clients and outdoor pools were given the green light to reopen.

Kids are set to go back to the classroom earlier than expected and up to 127,000 Victorians can return to work across various industries.

Childcare centres can reopen, with kinder to open from Term 4 too.

The second step has also meant weddings can take place with up to five people, private inspections can resume for real estate and apprentices and university students can return to onsite learning.

Religious communities will also be able to host gatherings of five people outdoors in the lead up to many important events.

The Premier said the driving down of cases was a “remarkable thing” and an achievement of every single Victorian.

“With grit and with guts and with heart – we are beating this thing,” he said.

“We are driving it down. We are winning.”