AUSTRALIA

Melburnians can break coronavirus lockdown to visit partner, even if they live more than 5kms away 

Melburnians who don’t live with their partner have been assured they can still visit each other at their homes, as the city goes into a strict new lockdows effective from Sunday night.

The city will enter stage four lockdown from 8pm after Victoria recorded 671 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths on Sunday.

An evening curfew will be enforced for Melburnians to not leave their homes between 8pm and 5am unless they’re working or providing care.

During the day, they’re only be allowed to shop and exercise within a five-kilometre radius of their home. 

While visitors to homes are also banned, Premier Daniel Andrews insists partners who don’t live under the same roof can visit each other, even if they live more than five kilometres apart. 

Couples who live separately can still visit each other in their home under Melbourne's stage four lockdown. Pictured is a couple spending time together in the Botanic Gardens on July 26

Couples who live separately can still visit each other in their home under Melbourne's stage four lockdown. Pictured is a couple spending time together in the Botanic Gardens on July 26

Couples who live separately can still visit each other in their home under Melbourne’s stage four lockdown. Pictured is a couple spending time together in the Botanic Gardens on July 26

‘The arrangements in relation to intimate partners are unchanged,’ Mr Andrews said. 

‘The arrangements in relation to shared custody are unchanged.

‘Things like five-kilometre rules and reasons to leave your home, they don’t apply in those circumstances.’

However, Melbourne University social expert Dr Lauren Rosewarne fears it may create a loophole for those seeking casual hook-ups.

There are fears singles looking for casual hook-up may take advantage of a loophole that allows intimate partners to visit each other's homes. Picture is a Melbourne couple on July 26

There are fears singles looking for casual hook-up may take advantage of a loophole that allows intimate partners to visit each other's homes. Picture is a Melbourne couple on July 26

There are fears singles looking for casual hook-up may take advantage of a loophole that allows intimate partners to visit each other’s homes. Picture is a Melbourne couple on July 26

‘If you see a different person every night of the week, obviously you may as well have been at a party … it’s a grey area because what determines “partner”?’ she told the Herald Sun.

‘It’s not necessarily a boyfriend-girlfriend situation and we definitely use that phrase ‘sexual partner’ … so there’s a definite loophole for people who are wanting to hook up. I’d also say … sex is a driver, like no others, for human behaviour.’

She added while most Melburnians did the right thing, she believes some singles active on dating apps as Tinder, eHarmony and Bumble may take advantage of the exceptions for couples living separately.

An expert called for discussion around the word 'partner' as Melbourne enters stage four lockdown from 8pm Sunday night. Pictured is a Melbourne couple wearing face masks

An expert called for discussion around the word 'partner' as Melbourne enters stage four lockdown from 8pm Sunday night. Pictured is a Melbourne couple wearing face masks

An expert called for discussion around the word ‘partner’ as Melbourne enters stage four lockdown from 8pm Sunday night. Pictured is a Melbourne couple wearing face masks

‘But I think we need some discussion around this word ‘partner’ … how long do you need to have known one another … because there are some people who are clearly taking liberties with the word,’ Dr Rosewarne said.

eHarmony told the publication it encourages daters to follow government social distancing guidelines, while Tinder sends its users a COVID warning message when they join the app.

‘While each day presents new challenges, we are inspired by the number of people who are turning to Tinder to connect … though we’re distancing ourselves to prevent the spread of the virus, we are not disconnecting,’ a Tinder spokesperson said. 

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