Nearly all remaining restrictions will be lifted in Victoria for fully vaccinated people from 11.59pm tonight, with Victoria set to hit the 90 per cent double dose milestone for eligible people in the coming days.
From this coming weekend, there will be no limits in the home and no caps or density limits for cafés and restaurants.
The vaccinated economy will remain, as will masks in some high risk settings, but many other restrictions will be eased as the state moves towards the new ‘Covid norm’.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the good news at Thursday morning’s press conference and said that it was an achievement that Victorians should be incredibly proud of.
“The milestone we’re about to hit is brilliant, allowing Victoria to return to something like the normal life we remember – businesses open, the city thriving and families getting back to doing the things they love together,” Mr Andrews said.
Among the long list of restrictions set to change are the limitations on public events – just in time for summer.
All indoor and outdoor events with less than 30,000 fully vaccinated attendees will be able to proceed with no special approval, and outdoor events with 30,000 or more will only need to publish their CovidSafe Plan.
Indoor venues including stadiums that have a capacity of 30,000 or more will need to get a one-off approval of their CovidSafe Plan from the Victorian Government.
Major events like the Boxing Day Test and the Australian Open will be able to proceed at full capacity, subject to the approval of the MCG and Melbourne Park’s CovidSafe Plan.
Masks will still be required for primary school staff and visitors and for students in Years 3 to 6, for workers serving the public at hospitality venues, for workers and customers at indoor retail, for visitors and select workers in hospitals or care facilities, and for people using public transport, taxi/rideshare and planes.
Customers for retail will no longer need to wear masks after Wednesday 15 December – in line with the NSW settings, while high-risk work settings such as corrections and meat, poultry and seafood processing will continue to require masks.
There will still be mask requirements, density limits and caps in place for weddings, funerals, places of worship and other settings if the vaccination status of attendees is not being checked.
Non-essential retail settings across Victoria will join the vaccinated economy and will only be open to Victorians who are fully vaccinated, under 12 years and two months, or have a valid exemption.
Another big change to restrictions will be the rules around self quarantine.
From 11.59pm tonight, the vast majority of people who come into contact with a confirmed positive case outside their home will not have to self-quarantine.
The Department of Health will use the new alert function in the Service Victoria app to notify patrons of higher-risk venues where positive cases have been present – such as restaurants, gyms and nightclubs – and advise them to get tested.
Household contacts who have had more than four hours of contact with a case inside a household, accommodation or care setting must isolate for seven days if fully vaccinated or 14 days if not fully vaccinated.
If children under 12 are household contacts, they will be considered fully vaccinated if everyone else in their household aged over 12 is fully vaccinated.
Workers exposed at work, and children who are exposed at school or early childhood centres, will need to show a negative PCR test result to return to work or school – with recommended RAT testing thereafter.
In addition to isolation changes for contacts, people who have Covid-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days, instead of 14 days.
These changes are recommended by Victoria’s public health experts based on Burnet Institute modelling.
Minister for Health Martin Foley said that Victoria was leading the way when it came to a national Covid recovery.
“By focusing on high-risk settings, cases and contacts – and safely removing rules that could sweep hundreds of thousands of people into long quarantine at any one time – Victoria is charting a path for the rest of Australia for how to live with Covid-19 as a manageable endemic when cases inevitably increase nationwide,” Mr Foley said.
For more information call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 or visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au