Australia Corona Virus

Coronavirus restrictions to ease in Victoria on Friday night

Coronavirus restrictions will further ease in Victoria from 6pm on Friday as the state marks a new COVID-19 milestone of zero active cases.Masks will no longer be required to be worn in retail settings and will only be mandatory on public transport, inside rideshare vehicles and taxis, as well as in sensitive settings such as aged care facilities and hospitals.Private gathering numbers will increase to 100 people, up from 30 visitors.

While public outdoor gatherings will double to 200 people.The cap for office workers will be removed, enabling everyone to return to work.Public sector workers will also be required to return to work for at least three days a week under a new government mandate.

The cap on dance floors will be removed and indoor non-seated entertainment venues will have an extended capacity of 75 per cent.Increased capacity has also been announced for sporting events, with 75 per cent of fans permitted for round two of the AFL this week.

“All of this is a reflection of the great work Victorians have done,” Acting Premier James Merlino said.”We know that the risk is far from over, but thanks to the incredible work of Victorians we are continuing to open up.”Density limits for venues under more restrictive settings, such as casinos and nightclubs, will be brought in line with the hospitality sector, moving to the one person per two-square metre rule.

Limits on class sizes for outdoor and indoor physical recreation or fitness classes will be scrapped.Unstaffed gyms will move to a density limit of one person per four-square metres.”These changes are another positive step in Victoria’s social and economic recovery,” Health Minister Martin Foley said.

The easing of restrictions comes as the state’s last active case of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine dropped off overnight.Victoria has gone 24 consecutive days without recording any local cases of coronavirus, following its snap five-day lockdown.Testing numbers still remain consistently high across the state, with 13,549 tests undertaken in the past 24 hours.The state will officially “eliminate” the virus once it marks a month of zero community transmission.The Victorian Government is yet to reveal when international flights will resume, but it is believed the state is waiting to finalise its revised hotel quarantine program after the virus escaped once again from the system.An overhaul of the program, which could see Avalon and Melbourne airports transformed into outdoor accommodation hubs, has been flagged.

A total of 1343 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered across the state on Sunday at hospitals, bringing the jab total to 55,023 over the first four weeks of the program.New high-volume vaccination centres – the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre and the Royal Exhibition Building – will launch this week as phase 1B gets underway.”We’ll be starting slow and steady at these high-volume sites, conducting dry runs over the first few days and ensuring all the systems and processes are safely in place,” a government statement read.”Two high-volume vaccination centres are already in operation at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and Sunshine Hospital.”