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Another virus-free day: Victoria urged to target Christmas reopening

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The Prime Minister and business leaders are urging Daniel Andrews to completely reopen Victoria by Christmas as the state records a second straight day of no coronavirus cases or deaths.

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Scott Morrison praised Victorians for their efforts in crushing the coronavirus but has given little credit to the Premier.

He wants Andrews to outline clear markers to reopen the economy and social life.

Treasury has calculated the Victorian lockdown is costing the economy $100 million and 1200 jobs a day.

“We look forward to Victoria continuing to make progress on the path to reopening and joining the rest of the country at steps two and three in the national plan,” Morrison said.

“It will be important for the Victorian Government to provide even more clarity to Victorians in the coming days and where restrictions do not have a health basis that they are removed quickly.”

Some retail and hospitality restrictions will be eased from midnight on Tuesday.

But hotel operators are concerned strict crowd limits will prevent them from turning a profit.

The Prime Minister wants Victoria to lock in a timeline to implement stage two and three of a national plan to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Stage two involves returning to work in offices where suitable, a relaxation of occupancy limits at venues and gatherings, and free movement between areas with no community transmission.

Step three covers a broader return to the workplace, looser density limits for events and large venues, open interstate borders and international travel partnerships.

The Prime Minister said he would continue to take advice – alongside the premiers of Victoria, NSW and South Australia – on the removal of hard border restrictions.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers is keen to avoid weighing in on reports of a fractured relationship between the Victorian government and business groups.

Chalmers said there would be a time to get into the weeds of the political debate.

“Really right now is a time to acknowledge what Victorians have been able to achieve,” he told ABC radio.

-AAP

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