“That’s where it’s really hurt, people not being able to connect to the people who mean the most to them,” he said.
However, he urged people to remain cautious about close contact.
“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,” he said.
Weddings with up to 10 guests will now be allowed, as well as funerals of up to 20 people indoors, or 30 outdoors.
The government is close to announcing plans to return children to classrooms after telling parents that the of term two would be taught remotely “for the purposes of certainty”.
“We now believe that a gradual, staged return to face-to-face learning is safe, cautious and appropriate, given the testing we’ve done and the circumstances we face. Today’s not the day to announce the details,” Mr Andrews said.
Ten people will also be able to meet outdoors under the first stage of the relaxed rules.
Counselling and community services will also be allowed with 10 people and under, but Mr Andrews encouraged employers to continue working from home arrangements where possible for the rest of May.
“If you can work from home, you must work from home until the end of May,” Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrews said Victorians would need to maintain hygiene and social distancing while meeting with friends.
“You should still stay at home unless you are going out for one of those five reasons – the four everyone knows about, the fifth reason is to visit family and friends but no more than five visitors can go to someone else’s home,” Mr Andrews said.
“It is not an invitation to be having a dinner party at every house every night. We have to use our common sense, we have to be proportionate.”
More than 161,000 people have been tested as part of a two-week blitz. Of those, 30 who were not linked to other known cases, many of whom were asymptomatic, returned a positive test, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
The government is also ramping up its efforts to find “silent” carriers of coronavirus, announcing a $20 million package which includes a specialised outbreak unit to ensure proper testing, contact tracing and deep cleaning are carried out when a cluster is detected.
More to come
Rachel is a breaking news reporter for The Age.