Victoria’s COVID restrictions soften announcement, including changes to masks, density limits and isolation rules

There will be virtually no COVID-19 rules in Victoria as the state hits a key benchmark, with Premier Daniel Andrews confirming the rules for mask, density, capacity and isolation will end before the weekend.

Victoria surpassed 88% double-dose vaccination coverage on Thursday and will reach 90% by the end of the weekend.

“We’re opening the place up and we’re going to keep it open,” Andrews said.

“Whether it’s 100,000 people at the CWM on Boxing Day, or a small group of people standing in their local pub drinking a beer, it’s the COVID-normal that every Victorian has built.”

The prime minister confirmed that as of 11:59 p.m. Thursday, there would be “almost no” rule across the state for those who are fully vaccinated.

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews addresses the media. Credit: SCOTT BARBOUR/AAPIMAGE

Masks

Starting at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, masks will only be required in high-risk environments, but they will also need to be worn in retail stores for a few additional weeks.

Masks will also still be required for staff and visitors to primary schools and for students in grades 3 to 6, for public service workers in reception areas, in public transport and in vehicles. of carpooling.

They will also need to be worn in hospitals and on airplanes.

But masks will no longer need to be worn in offices or when entering cafes, bars and restaurants.

Andrews said the rules on masks will change again by December 15 and from that date they will no longer need to be worn in retail stores.

Density and capacity ceilings

In time for the weekend, capacity caps will drop for outdoor and home gatherings.

There will also be no more density caps for restaurants, cafes and bars.

Dance floors and nightclubs can finally reopen to fully vaccinated people and stand at the scene can return.

There will still be a mask requirement, density limits, and caps in place for weddings, funerals, and places of worship if participants’ vaccination status is not verified.

Insulation changes of close contacts

There is also an overhaul of the close contact COVID-19 isolation orders.

Currently, fully vaccinated people who are in close contact with a known case must self-isolate for seven days and it is 14 days for unvaccinated people, including children under 12 years old.

But under the new rules, close contacts who are fully vaccinated only need to self-isolate until they test negative if the close contact is not in their household.

Those who have a positive case in their household will have to self-isolate for seven days if they are vaccinated, or 14 days if they are not vaccinated.

A person who tests positive for COVID-19 will have to self-isolate for 10 days, four days less than the current rules.

A person is seen exercising at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne.
A person is seen exercising at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. Credit: JAMES ROSS/AAPIMAGE

While it’s already open, more changes are coming for retail purchases as well.

When 90% vaccine coverage is achieved, unvaccinated Victorians will no longer be allowed to shop in retail stores.

They will be able to shop at essential stores including supermarkets, drugstores and bottle stores.

This rule does not apply to people who benefit from an exemption or to children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated.

Increase in COVID cases on Thursday

Ahead of the announcement, Victoria saw another increase in COVID-19 cases, marking the first time the numbers were above 1,000 in five days.

On Thursday, the health department confirmed there were 1,007 new cases within 24 hours until midnight.

There have also been 12 other deaths linked to COVID-19.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state remains stable at 337.

Among them, 63 are in intensive care and 34 on a ventilator.

There were 996 cases recorded on Wednesday, 797 Tuesday, 860 Monday and 905 Sunday.

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