The chance for Victoria to return to consecutive ‘donut days’ is now "unlikely” according to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Accordingly, the Victorian Government’s strategy has now shifted from eliminating the number of cases of COVID-19 across the state to now aiming to “suppress case numbers... and buy us time to get people vaccinated.”
On the day the Victorian Government extended the lockdown, public health officials reported 120 new cases of COVID-19 across Victoria and two deaths.
The Victorian Premier hinted that some areas of Regional Victoria may be able to exit lockdown as early as next week but has not confirmed any plans or dates.
While the already-extended Lockdown Six had been scheduled to end on 2 September, the existing lockdown restrictions will be extended by three weeks to (approximately) 23 September or when the State can report that 70 per cent of the public have received at least once dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination.
Forecasts from the State Government show that approximately 70 per cent of the State will have received both doses by the end of October.
The latest data (to 31 August) shows that 56.1 per cent of eligible Victorians have received their first COVID-19 vaccine, where only 34.2 per cent of eligible Victorians have received their second and are fully vaccinated.
“Victorian businesses are absolutely shattered today. We asked for a plan, a roadmap, ambition and hope. Instead, we got confirmation that most Victorian businesses will remain unable to trade for the foreseeable future,” said Paul Guerra, Chief Executive of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“Victorian business needs certainty and clarity on the roadmap out of lockdown, similar to the guidance the State Government provided in 2020. Business is ready and willing to work with government to ensure that the best outcomes for the economy and community can be achieved.”
What is changing?
All current restrictions including the 9:00pm curfew, five-kilometer limits and the ‘five reasons to leave home’ will continue to stay in place until further notice.
Term three of the school year has been confirmed to be in an online-learning-only environment.
The only positive announcement was to overturn restrictions for the use of outdoor playgrounds which came into effect during the previous round of tightening restrictions.
Strict rules will apply to the playground equipment and only allow children under 12 years of age with only one parent allowed. Playgrounds will also be installed with QR codes for checking in.
What happens at 70 per cent?
Once the State can report that 70 per cent of the public have had at least once dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, only then will restrictions begin to ease for Metropolitan Victoria, including:
- Construction sites able to increase to 50 per cent capacity, but only if 90 per cent of the workforce have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
- The five-kilometer limit will be expanded to 10 kilometers for shopping and exercise
- Time for exercise will be extended from two hours to three hours
- Outdoor gym equipment, skateparks and outdoor personal training can reopen
- Childminding for school-aged children will be allowed
- Private inspections will be allowed to resume for realtors
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 is 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 COVIDSafe plans 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.