Key developments include:
- Patrons will no longer have to show their vaccination status at any venue;
- Check-ins will no longer be required at any venue;
- Masks will no longer be required in schools, hospitality, retail or any events;
- Close contacts will no longer have to quarantine but will have to wear a mask indoors, avoid sensitive settings and record at least five negative rapid tests over the seven days that would have been the self-quarantine period;
- All restrictions in hospitals, except for mask-wearing will be removed;
- Events with more than 30,000 people will no longer require public health pre-approval;
- People who have had COVID-19 will now be exempt from testing or quarantine for 12 weeks, up from 8 weeks; spirit
- Individuals will be required to notify their workplace and social contacts. Workplaces will not have to notify exposed workers.
“This sensible easing of restrictions is only possible because we are one of the most vaccinated societies in the world with almost 70 per cent of Victorian adults already armed with their third dose,” Mr Foley said.
“The vaccinated economy kept Victorians safe and businesses open during an unpredictable time when we saw our highest case numbers ever – but now is the right time to set it aside and focus on the highest risk settings.”
Premier Daniel Andrews foreshadowed the changes on Tuesday, declaring reforms would be announced “very, very soon” after the seven-day average of cases dropped below 10,000, providing confidence the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron was passed the peak.
However, another 10,628 infections were announced on Wednesday and 437 people are in hospital with the virus.
Foley is responsible for the restrictions and changes under Victoria’s new pandemic-specific legislation.
Sutton advised Foley on April 7 that vaccine mandates could be scrapped in most workplaces “at the earliest reasonable juncture to be at the discretion of industry and individual workplaces, understanding the occupational health and safety obligations in these specific settings”, and for patrons visiting hospitality and entertainment venues.
Given Victoria’s high two-dose vaccination coverage, continuation of vaccine mandates for patrons to open premises is unlikely to materially increase uptake of vaccination in those who remain unvaccinated, and the negative consequences of social and community exclusion of unvaccinated patrons from these premises may now outweigh the previously recognized benefits, ”the advice said.
So far, 67.1 per cent of adults in Victoria have received their third booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Sutton had urged the government to keep rules in place forcing household contacts to isolate for seven days.
More to come
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