Premier Daniel Andrews announced that from 11.59pm Tuesday 18 January, workers in emergency services, education, critical utilities, custodial facilities and all transport and freight sectors will be eligible for the exemption to isolate when identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case if it is necessary for continuity of operations and if other options have been exhausted. Both the employer and employee must also consent to the worker returning on-site.
For those seeking the exemption under these new rules, a negative rapid antigen test must be presented to the employer for five days before being able to work, and they must wear a face mask while working.
This exemption order currently applies to key food and beverage workers, hospital workers, disability workers, residential aged care facility workers and ambulance workers.
To be attributed to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry acting Chief Executive Scott Veenker:
“The Victorian Chamber has vocally advocated for these changes and welcomes the State Government’s affirmative and proactive action which will help to keep our state moving. Once again Victoria is leading the way and showing how to live with COVID.
“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak is having widespread impacts on businesses across all Victorian industries and sectors, and these changes will further assist in minimising the disruption of increasing case numbers on some of our hardest hit industries.
“More employees will be able to get back to work, more business services will be able to resume as normal, and more hard-hit businesses will be able to maintain viable levels of trade.
"The Victorian Chamber will continue to advocate for more workers to return once there is a greater availability of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), as the Government will have even greater confidence that the system is working.
“The Victorian Chamber is continuing to advocate for Federal and State Governments to help address these issues by expanding the provision of free RATs, to also include Small and Medium businesses who have been the cornerstone of the community during the pandemic.”