Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions are set to ease from this Friday, with the state reporting 24 days without any local cases.
Masks will no longer need to be worn in retail settings but will be mandatory on public transport and in hospitals, aged care homes, taxis and rideshare settings.
All office workers will be able to return to work, removing the prior cap of 75 per cent.
Victorians will still be required to carry their masks and wear them if physical distancing is not possible.
Private gatherings will increase to 100 people, up from 30 visitors, and public gatherings will double to 200 people.
Capacity at sports stadiums will also increase to 75 per cent, and the cap on dance floors will be removed.
The eased regulations will come into effect from this Friday, March 26, at 6pm.
Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton said the relaxation of restrictions came at a “safe time” for the state.
Victoria has now reached 24 days without recording any local cases of coronavirus.
The state will effectively “eliminate” the virus once it marks a month of zero community transmission.
“Everything is always subject to epidemiological conditions changing, but we have sufficient confidence in the efforts that Victorians have put in, and that our public health team have put in, to make these announcements now take effect,” Professor Sutton said.
“It gives us the confidence that things are stable, that the public health recovery and economic recovery and social recovery is underway, and that Victorians efforts are being rewarded.”
While all office workers will be able to return to work, subject to density limits, workplace arrangements for the public sector will require staff to be at their original place of work for three days a week.
NEW RULES FOR VICTORIANS
- Masks no longer required in retail settings but needed on public transport, rideshare vehicles and taxis, and aged care facilities and hospitals
- 100 people allowed in their home, outdoor gatherings can increase to 200
- Density limit of one person per 2sq m in casinos, karaoke venues and nightclubs
- Additional people allowed in indoor non-seated entertainment venues with an increase from 50 per cent to 75 per cent capacity
- Dance floors will move to the same density limit of the venue, and the 50 patron cap will also be removed
- There will no longer be limits on class sizes for outdoor and indoor physical recreation or fitness classes – and unstaffed gyms will be moving from a density limit of one person to 8sq m to one person per 4sq m
- The 75 per cent cap on private and public offices workers to be removed
- Crowds at the AFL will now be able to increase to 75 per cent for round 2
Acting Premier James Merlino said the move would promote a work-life balance and also encourage more workers into the CBD to “reboot” the area.
“Most people would like a work-life balance where they’re spending a number of days with colleagues in their workplace but also have the flexibility to work from home or closer to home, so this is based on feedback we’ve received,” Mr Merlino said.
“We need to ensure that we return vibrancy to the CBD, and I think this will be a welcome relief to cafes, restaurants and other businesses within the CBD.”
Professor Sutton said he expected the current regulations would be in place for some time.
“We need people to be aware that coronavirus can reach into our community again until we’ve got extremely high vaccination coverage,” Professor Sutton said.
“We’re encouraging people to continue keeping their distance, washing your hands, coughing into your elbow and excluding yourself from workplaces and school if unwell.
“But absolutely we’re at a good point, and the 28-day mark will be another celebration for me.”
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