Boost for business as restrictions ease across Victoria

The State Government has today announced a further easing of restrictions for Metropolitan and Regional Victoria from 11.59pm Thursday 17 June in a boost for struggling businesses affected by Lockdown 4.0.

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Metropolitan Victoria will have eased settings, which include public gatherings increasing to 20 people, masks no longer required outdoors and offices permitted up to 50 per cent of workers return or up to 20 people, whichever is greater.

Gyms, indoor entertainment venues and electronic gaming venues can also reopen, and community sport can resume. Hospitality venues permitted up to 150 people per venue with no more than 75 indoors.

“Victoria’s at its best when we’re together. I know we’re all waiting to see those people and places we’ve missed, which is why, on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, Victoria will soon safely begin coming back together,” acting Premier James Merlino said.

“We want to keep regional Victoria virus free – that’s why the public health team have recommended slightly stronger settings for Melbourne as extra protection while we run down any remaining cases.

“These rules mean that people will now be able to travel across the state, but also recognise that the majority of interactions in regional Victoria will be between regional Victorians.”

Mr Merlino also announced Melbourne residents travelling to the snow this season will be required to get a COVID-19 test and return a negative result within 72 hours of departing for Victoria’s alpine resorts.

Regional Victoria restrictions will ease further from tomorrow night, including up to 50 people permitted at public gatherings, restaurants and cafes are permitted up to 300 people for seated service, office worker capacity increased to 75 per cent and five visitors per day to your home.

The Victorian Chamber welcomed the announcement on restrictions easing, however Chief Executive Paul Guerra said a plan to deal with future COVID-19 outbreaks is still required so Victoria can move to a position where every business can trade viably in a COVIDSafe way.

“The Victorian Chamber welcomes the news that every Victorian business can now open their doors and it’s particularly great news for Regional Victoria. However, this is a step at a time we needed a leap for Metropolitan Victoria where the restrictions remain too conservative, especially for events, entertainment and larger hospitality operators,” Mr Guerra said.

“The Victorian Chamber is advocating for business to have a greater say and certainty going forward and wants to see the State Government consult on a detailed plan on how it manages COVID-19, including a warning system with triggers and thresholds and the appropriate response.

“The Government has said that we have to wait seven days for further easing but that current restrictions are a day-by-day scenario. We are advocating for the restrictions to come off in the same day-by-day manner. If things look good, let’s get going and not be restricted by the major weekly announcement, just as the Government would act in increasing restrictions.”

Metro Melbourne versus regional Victoria restrictions

Key changes to metropolitan Melbourne restrictions from 11.59pm Thursday 17 June:

  • Public gatherings limit increased to 20 people and private gatherings up to two people
  • Masks no longer required outdoors if you can physically distance
  • Offices permitted up to 50 per cent of workers or up to 20 people, whichever is greater
  • Gyms, indoor entertainment venues and electronic gaming venues can reopen. Community sport can resume
  • Indoor fixed seated entertainment permitted 50 per cent capacity up to maximum of 75 people per venue (outdoor maximum of 150)
  • Hospitality venues permitted up to 150 people per venue with no more than 75 indoors
  • Religious gatherings limit increased to 150 people (75 indoors), funerals to 75 people, and weddings to 20 people
  • Masks can be removed for hairdressing, beauty and personal care services.

Key changes to regional Victoria restrictions from 11.59pm Thursday 17 June:

  • Public gatherings limit increased to 50 people and private gatherings up to five people
  • Offices permitted up to 75 per cent of workers or up to 30 people, whichever is greater
  • Religious gatherings limit increased to 300 people, funerals to 100 people, and weddings to 50 people
  • Indoor fixed seated entertainment permitted 50 per cent capacity up to maximum of 300 people per space
  • Hospitality venues cap increased to 300 people per venue.

Help and support

For more information about what requirements are in place and what resources are available for your business, visit the Victorian Chamber’s COVID-19 resources page here.

As always, the most up-to-date information about restrictions are available on the Victoria Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website. For information about how restrictions affect your business, visit the Business Victoria website.

If you, as an employer or an employer’s representative feel unsure about what your organisation has in place or would like help in putting a plan in place, please do not hesitate to contact the Victorian Chamber’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) team on 03 8662 5196.

Members can also call our Workplace Relations Advice Line on 03 8662 5222 to discuss their employment obligations and any issues that arise. 

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