Melbourne mask and proof of vaccination restrictions are changing tonight
15.12.2021

Melbourne mask and proof of vaccination restrictions are changing tonight

Melbourne COVID restrictions

A raft of changes have been made to Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions ahead of Christmas, although Victoria's mask mandate in retail settings will remain.

With more than 92 per cent of eligible Victorians double dose vaccinated, the Victorian Government has today made sweeping changes to the state’s COVID-19 restrictions ahead of Christmas, especially surrounding retail settings. Minister for Health Martin Foley said the new public health orders were essential for “maintaining the pillars of our vaccinated economy”.

He will today sign pandemic orders under the new Public Health and Wellbeing Act, which will come into effect from 11.59pm tonight and be in place until 12 January 2022, following advice from the Chief Health Officer (CHO) that there continues to be a serious risk to public health from the global pandemic, and that restrictions continue to be necessary to protect Victorians and the healthcare system.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

While it was highlighted that more information about the Omicron variant for needed before considering further changes to protective measures – such as mask requirements, there have been significant changes to Victoria’s current restrictions regarding unvaccinated people.

As part of the orders, people under 18 will no longer be required to show proof of their vaccination status at all venues, such as hospitality.

The mandatory vaccination requirement will be removed for all customers in retail, except hair and beauty services, and will also be removed in real estate, places of worship, weddings and funerals. Mask settings in retail remain unchanged.

Under the pandemic orders however, restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs are still only open to fully vaccinated patrons and staff. Workers are required to wear masks.

Face masks no longer need to be worn at weddings, funerals, or ceremonial settings. If these events are held at places of worship there will not be any vaccination requirements or limits on participants, nor any requirement for organisers to check vaccination status. If the ceremony is at a hospitality setting, vaccine requirements will apply.

Workplaces exposed to a positive coronavirus case will no longer need to be deep cleaned, after mounting international evidence that coronavirus is an airborne or droplet-borne disease and the likelihood of becoming infected by touching a surface is very low risk.

In addition, tour and transport operators, gyms and creative arts premises such as theatres and cinemas will not need to clean equipment between uses. Workplaces will still need to maintain CovidSafe plans.

Elective surgery rules are also being updated, with rural and regional health services able to resume up to 75 per cent of normal elective surgery activity.

“More than 92 per cent of eligible Victorians are double dosed vaccinated, giving us the opportunity to enjoy a greater level of freedom across the state,” Foley said.

“These measures strike a balance between the risk of community transmission, and the protection that comes from being one of the most vaccinated jurisdictions in the world.”

“All Victorians are eligible for a booster shot five months after their second dose and are urged to book an appointment as soon as possible. This will keep families safe during the holiday period and help slow the spread of the virus.”

Ensuring children are protected from coronavirus is also vital, and parents are encouraged to get their kids vaccinated when the rollout for five to 11-year-olds begins on 10 January 2022.

To recap, here’s what’s changing in Melbourne

From 11:59pm tonight:

  • People who areunder 18 will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination status at all venues, such as hospitality (the current arrangement is 12 and above)
  • The mandatory vaccination requirement will be removed for all customers in retail, except hair and beauty services
  • The mandatory vaccination requirement will also be removed in real estate, places of worship, weddings and funerals
  • Mask settings in retail remain unchanged
  • Restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs are still only open to fully vaccinated patrons and staff. Workers are required to wear masks
  • Face masks no longer need to be worn at weddings, funerals or ceremonial settings. If these events are held at places of worship there will not be any vaccination requirements or limits on participants, nor any requirement for organisrs to check vaccination status. If the ceremony is at a hospitality setting, vaccine requirements will apply
  • Tour and transport operators, gyms and creative arts premises such as theatres and cinemas will no longer need to clean equipment between uses
  • Workplaces will still need to maintain CovidSafe plans
  • Health services and regional services able to resume to 75 per cent of normal elective surgery activity

These rules will come into place at 11:59pm and be in place until 12 January, 2022.

Read more here