A BENDIGO counsellor hopes eased restrictions allowing people to visit family and friends will help improve people's mental health.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday that Victorians would soon be able to have up to five visitors in their homes, and meet with a total of 10 people outdoors.
These eased restrictions take effect from 11.59pm Tuesday.
Headspace Bendigo team manager Lindsay Rose said it would certainly help some people's mental health to visit family and friends.
Mr Rose said the isolation measures brought in to stem the spread of COVID-19 had been difficult for a lot of people.
But he urged people to follow the premier's advice, and only see people if they needed.
"Interaction with others boosts feelings of well-being. Even the most introverted among us crave in person social contact for time to time," Mr Rose said.
"But I would heed the advice of the premier to make sure that any in person social contact we are planning in the coming days, bears in mind the recommendations.
"So only if necessary for your own wellbeing."
Mr Rose said feelings of loneliness and isolation had affected some of the young people with whom Headspace worked.
He said phone and video calls had replaced some of it, but you couldn't replace in-person interaction.
Mr Andrews also announced schools would resume face-to-face learning before the end of term two.
Action houses, real estate auctions and open houses have also been given looser restrictions, with up to 10 people allowed at each.
But restaurants and cafes will remain open for takeaway only.
Be.Bendigo chief executive Dennis Bice said getting people back to work was critical to getting the economy back up and running.
Mr Bice said Australia did need to respect health advice while doing so.
"There will be a lot of people out there who are actually in business today who are trying to work from home and cope with also running their children and schools," Mr Bice said.
"The sooner that we can get everyone back the better."
Mr Andrews announced facilities such as community centres and halls would be allowed to re-open for essential public support service
This would allow 10 people to meet for a support group, plus the minimum number needed to operate the group. Groups include parents' groups, youth groups, Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous groups, alcohol, drugs or family violence support groups, or Foodbanks.
A City of Greater Bendigo spokesperson said the council would work through plans to re-open its community facilities such as halls over the coming days.
"The announcement is very new and we need to investigate how re-opening such facilities will be managed to ensure our community is safe and we are not in breach of current regulations," the spokesperson said.
Public parks, playgrounds, outdoor gyms will remain closed.
Up to five guests will be able to visit homes in Victoria when coronavirus restrictions are eased from Tuesday night.
It is one of the changes in the rules around the state's isolation from COVID-19 announced by Victorian premier Daniel Andrews this morning.
Changes also included the groups of 10 are able to participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing and golf.
"This is about getting back to as normal a Victoria as we can hope for until we find a vaccine," Mr Andrews said.
"We are adding fifth reason as to why you should leave (and that) is to visit family and friends.
"Some of things that hurt people the most was the notion of people not been able to connect with the closest to them."
The changes announced by Mr Andrews will stay in place until May 31 with more restrictions expected to be eased for June.
Mr Andrews said an announcement on students returning to face-to-face classrooms would be made in the future.
"We have said to parents that (we expected) learning from home to continue to the end of term 2," he said. "We now believe a gradual return to schools is safe, cautious and appropriate.
"That will be done soon and we will give parents lots of notice. We are very close to making some significant announcements on schools."
Mr Andrews said easing restrictions must be done in a safe, cautious and appropriate manner.
"We only get one chance to take the first step," he said. "We are facing our own unique challenges and need to be appropriate, safe and cautious.
"These are small steps but significant steps. The last thing we want to do is follow the examples of other countries where if you relax too many rules, too quickly, you find yourself in a lockdown harder than what we have been in.
"In June following more testing and the experience of the three weeks, that will guide us (in easing further restrictions).
"We will be guided by data and are impressed to think so many Victorians have done the right things. We are in this together and proud of the results we have been able to produce."
Victoria had 1494 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Eighteen people have died from the virus while 1346 people have recovered from it.
In Bendigo nine people have contracted, and since recovered from, the virus.
Elsewhere in central Victoria Macedon Ranges (8), Mount Alexander (6), Loddon (3), Campaspe (2) and Central Goldfields (1) all recorded cases.
Following the loosening of restrictions, the Victorian Government has announced a $20 million effort to quickly control any future outbreaks of coronavirus in the state.
Rapid response outbreak teams that will prevent, respond to and limit outbreaks of the virus as well as conduct proactive visits to high-risk facilities, businesses and industries.
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