Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that from 11.59pm on Thursday 9 September, the five reasons to leave home will no longer apply in Regional Victoria, except for Greater Shepparton, where case numbers are still of concern. While this is good news for thousands of businesses and employees who will be able to get back to work, it is a conservative, though understandable, step.
“While this is fantastic news for most of Regional Victoria, we’re encouraging everyone in these areas to keep up all the COVIDSafe practices and most importantly, keep coming forward to get vaccinated,” said the Victorian Premier in a statement.
Key changes to restrictions announced include:
- Removal of the ‘five reasons to leave home’
- No limit on the distance Regional Victorians can travel from home – other than restrictions on entry to Metropolitan Victoria
- Office workers will be able to return up to 25 per cent or up to 10 people, whichever is greater, with masks to be worn
- Hospitality to reopen for seated service only with a maximum of 20 patrons outdoors and 10 indoors, subject to density limits
- All beauty/personal care open with a cap of 10 clients - masks must remain on for duration of the service
- Retail to reopen with a density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm. Check-in required and masks mandatory at all times - cannot be removed for eating/drinking in retail settings
- Schools will reopen for onsite learning for Prep to Grade 2 and Year 12 students, while remote learning will remain for all other levels
- Public gatherings permitted for up to 10 people.
Masks will continue to be required indoors and outdoors, apart from private residences, unless an exception applies.
While businesses in regional settings, aside from Greater Shepparton, will be able to reopen their doors to the public, households are required to keep their doors shut to friends, family and visitors.
In his press conference, when discussing the possibility of identifying further cases in Regional Victoria in the coming weeks, the Premier said, “not only is it our preference, but it will be our practice to have a focused and targeted series of measures.
“As you can see, Shepparton is being treated differently as there are case numbers there. If there were an outbreak in another part of Regional Victoria, then we would look to try and target and localise our public health measures as much as we could.”
The Premier foreshadowed moving Greater Shepparton to the same restriction levels as the rest of Regional Victoria as early as next week, provided case numbers remain under control.
The announcement to ease restrictions has come as a welcome relief as thousands of Victorians can finally get back to businesses.
“Today’s announcement does give certainty and provides a strong signal and hope for the roadmap to COVID-19 recovery. We expect that if there are no outbreaks in Regional Victoria in coming days, then Public Health should have the confidence to lift the customer caps to enable businesses to trade viably,” said Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Paul Guerra.
“This is a conservative step but understandable in the current climate. Many businesses will struggle to trade viably with the low-density limits, so it is essential that ongoing financial support from both State and Federal Governments continue.”
Business restrictions explained
Coming into effect at 11:59pm on Thursday 9 September, the five-kilometre travel limit and the ‘five reasons to leave home’ will end for those living in Regional Victoria, with the exception of Greater Shepparton.
While many restrictions have lifted, masks will continue to be required ‘always’ - meaning outdoors and indoors – including the workplace, even if workers are not public-facing.
Despite the working from home directive being lifted with the scrapping of the ‘five reasons to leave home,’ office workers are encouraged to continue working from home if possible.
Offices will be able to open to 25 per cent capacity or up to 10 people if the workplace is 40 or less. The same density quotient of one person per four square meters applies to office settings.
Masks will continue to be required to be worn at all times in the workplace.
Pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, and food courts are once again permitted to host seated guests only – no standing service. Hospitality venues may only accommodate groups of up to 10 inside and 20 outside, subject to density limits.
COVID-19 Check-in Marshals must ensure all patrons check-in using the Service Victoria QR Code system.
Nightclubs and dancefloors remain closed.
All retail businesses will be able to open their doors to the public, but maintain a density quotient of one person per four square meters. As always, QR code check-in systems are required and all visitors must check-in before entering the premises.
Masks are mandatory at all times and cannot be removed for eating/drinking in retail settings.
Hairdressing, beauty, personal care
Beauty services will open and be able to welcome a cap of 10 clients at a time. Masks must remain on for duration of all services.
Outdoor physical recreation & sport
Outdoor playgrounds, communal gym equipment and skateparks will open.
Outdoor personal training is permitted with up to 10 people and a trainer.
Community sport is permitted. Outdoor training only with the minimum number required to train. Spectators are prohibited except one parent permitted to supervise children.
Community recreation facilities: Outdoors only with up to 20 people per facility.
Outdoor pools: Open with up to 50 people.
Hotels and accommodation services will once again be allowed to welcome guests who live in Regional Victoria (Greater Shepparton excluded). Bookings permitted for single households, intimate partners or single bubbles. The same no-visitor restrictions that apply to the home, also apply to home.
Entertainment and events
Indoor fixed seated entertainment venues and non-seated indoor venues can open with a maximum of 20 people per space.
Outdoor fixed seated entertainment and non-seated outdoor venues can open with up to 25 per cent capacity with a maximum of 300 people per space, whichever is lesser.
Public events and business events are permitted to proceed in line with the restrictions in place in each setting
Drive-in cinemas are the only entertainment venues where no patron cap applies.
Arcades, escape rooms, bingo centres remain closed.
Weddings and funerals
Funerals will be permitted with no more than 20 people (and those workers necessary to conduct the funeral). Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.
Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 people (and those workers necessary to conduct the wedding). Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.
Dancefloors will not be permitted at weddings.
For more detailed information about what restrictions are currently 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 Victorian Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website. For specific 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.
Victorian Chamber Grant Finder
We are proud to have recently announced the launch of the Victorian Chamber Grant Finder - your new one-stop-shop and single source of truth to discover every government support measure available to your businesses, including the Digital Jobs Program.
To access the Victorian Chamber Grant Finder, members can head to the website now and begin their journey to discover Government support.