Nightclubs, bars and pubs will be forced to close off dancefloors from 11:59pm this Wednesday as the Victorian government tightens COVID-19 restrictions.
Indoor dancefloors within hospitality and entertainment venues must close from 11:59pm 12 January, according to new restrictions imposed by the Victorian government.
Venues can still operate under the current one-person-per-two-square-metre density settings currently in place. Outdoor dancefloors and festivals, while currently under significant doubt, can still be open at present.
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This change reflects settings already in place in other states, including New South Wales. In a curious decision, indoor dancefloors at weddings will still be permitted, however.
While restrictions on going out tighten, the government is simultaneously lessening close contact isolation restrictions on workers in the food manufacturing and distribution industries, including retail supermarket workers.
Due to nation-wide staff shortages, these workers may be exempted from close contact isolation requirements in order to attend work from 11.59pm Wednesday 12 January, if it is necessary for continuity of operations and other options have been exhausted.
To mitigate risks, exempted workers must be asymptomatic, undertake daily RATs for 5 days and return a negative result prior to attending work. They can’t enter shared break areas, and employers are asked to facilitate solo break time. This new close contact isolation exemption for asymptomatic food distribution workers is similar to the arrangements already in place for critical healthcare workers.
In other new restrictions, workers across the healthcare, aged care, disability, emergency services, correctional facility, quarantine accommodation and food distribution sectors will be mandated to receive their third vaccination booster shot.
The government’s strong recommendations that people work from home if they are able and that patrons in hospitality and entertainment venues opt for seated service will continue. It is recommended that people visiting these venues who can access Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) should use them before attending.
Visitors in hospitals must have received two doses of the vaccine or must return a negative RAT result before entering. Adult visitors who are not fully vaccinated must wear an N95 mask during their visit. Standard face masks continue to be mandated for children aged 8 and above.
While test requirements upon arrival remain unchanged, fully vaccinated international arrivals will no longer need to get a second PCR or RAT five to seven days after their arrival.
“This is a sensible extension of our existing vaccination requirements – ensuring our critical workers and the vulnerable community members they look after are protected,” Minister for Health Martin Foley said.
“Victoria is open and the community is encouraged to support businesses in a COVIDSafe way. Closing indoor dancefloors is a simple but important step – we know they pose an extraordinary risk of mass transmission.”
“No setting is more vulnerable than hospitals and aged care, and that’s why visitors to hospitals will be required to have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or return a negative Rapid Antigen Test.”
Information on updated COVIDSafe settings and third dose vaccination requirements will soon be available here.