The Victorian government is scrapping daily COVID-19 press conferences, as Melbourne and the state's regions reunite under eased restrictions.
Saturday's COVID-19 media briefing will be the last to occur on a daily basis, with key information and statistics to instead be issued through a press release at about 11am each day.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton will still face the media for major announcements and developments.
Health officials and Victorian government ministers have been holding COVID-19 press conferences daily since the start of the state's third wave.
Premier Daniel Andrews memorably fronted the cameras for 120 consecutive days during the state's second wave last year, in which more than 800 Victorians died.
It comes as Victoria recorded 1656 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths on Friday, ahead of restrictions easing at 6pm.
The border between Melbourne and the regions has now come down, masks no longer need to be worn outdoors, indoor entertainment venues, gyms and retail can reopen for fully vaccinated patrons, and capacity limits have increased for restaurants, pubs and cafes.
Outdoor events including weddings and funerals are also able to host 500 fully vaccinated people, while outdoor community sport can resume.
The rules are relaxing in line with Victoria's roadmap, with the state set to hit its 80 per cent full vaccination target at the weekend.
Creative Industries Minister Danny Pearson says the changes will bring Melbourne "back to life".
"Six o'clock tonight is dividend day," he told reporters from the stage of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, ahead of a concert on Saturday night.
"It's a time where we can start to get back and recapture some of the things that we've been missing so much over these last 19 months."
With travel from Melbourne no longer banned, Bells Beach Brewing co-owner Adam Smith expects his Torquay and Geelong venues to be full this weekend and says a group of 30-odd city dwellers are making the trip.
"It will almost be like a teary reunion on Saturday when they come in," Mr Smith said.
Traffic out of Melbourne was expected to be heavy on Friday afternoon, though police said they would exercise some discretion if people decide to leave the city before 6pm.
The RACV has urged motorists to plan ahead and stay patient over the unofficial Melbourne Cup long weekend.
Despite grey skies looming over the city and much of the state, Professor Sutton said Friday was a "very bright day".
"All of these things are essentially only possible because of the vaccination coverage that we've been able to get to," he said.
Prof Sutton said the state was on track to be among the "top five" vaccinated jurisdictions in the world, with 65.5 per cent of all Victorians - including children under 12 who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine - fully vaccinated.
"That's a higher vaccination rate than the US, Austria, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Israel," he said.
He added 78.3 per cent of all Victorians have had at least a single vaccine dose, "overtaking the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Japan just to name a few".
Six vaccination clinics and 30 testing sites were forced to close on Friday after wild weather battered the state.
Australian Associated Press
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