Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has ensured “our new ‘COVIDSafe Summer’ will be in place until at least the end of January, giving Victorians a bit more certainty about what the next couple of months will look like.
Announcing few more changes on Sunday, Dec 7, Andrews said, “Until we have a vaccine – and even then, until we have a widely distributed vaccine – some aspects of these rules and restrictions must continue to be part of our reality.”
Under the changes, effective from Dec 7, masks will only be required in a limited number of places: on public transport, in rideshare vehicles and taxis, in some retail settings including indoor shopping centres, supermarkets, department stores and indoor markets.
While masks are no longer mandated in most circumstances, the evidence is clear wearing a face covering makes a real difference in slowing the spread of the virus – so masks continue to be recommended indoors or outdoors when distancing can’t be maintained, official press release said.
As has been previously announced, Victorians will be able to host up to 30 people in their home. Outdoor gatherings in public places – the beach, the park – can increase to 100.
Density limits in pubs, restaurants and cafes will shift to 1 person per 2sq metres for both indoors and outdoors with no other cap. The use of electronic record keeping – a QR code – will be mandatory.
And for small operations, there’ll be no density limits if the patron number is under 25.
For retail and beauty services, businesses will be able to move to 1 person per 2sq metres – if they also introduce electronic record keeping. For businesses where that’s just not possible, the existing density limits will continue to apply.
The cap for funerals and weddings will also be removed, subject to a new density limit of 1 person per 2sq metres. For those who want to dance on their special day – or maybe even the Nutbush – dancefloors will be able to host up to 50 people, with a density of 1 person per 4sqm.
The same rules will apply to nightclubs. But remember, the health advice still stands: no hugs, no handshakes and if you’re feeling sick, you need to get tested and stay home.
The same new density limits will apply for community facilities, like our libraries, RSLs, and community halls.
In gyms, the density limit will move to 1 per 4sq metres – with exercise classes limited to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.
And more relaxed restrictions for our entertainment venues will see more Victorians enjoying everything that makes us the cultural capital of Australia.
For those sick of only seeing their colleagues in a square on the screen, we’ll be able to move to a 50 per cent return for office workers by 11 January, after considering the public health advice at the time. For the Victorian public service, up to 25 per cent will be able to return to the office from 11 January, moving up to 50 per cent on 8 February.
Details of further changes will be made available online.