At a press conference on 7 July, Health Minister Martin Foley unveiled a suite of relaxed restrictions across the State including the removal of the mandate for mask-wearing in non-public-facing workplaces such as schools, offices and warehouses. Crowd capacities have also been increased for sporting venues and events, along with the reopening of Melbourne dancefloors.
“Today’s changes show just how far we’ve come – thanks to the hard work of all Victorians we’re able to once again have the same settings in place for the whole state,” said Premier Daniel Andrews in a statement.
“This is great announcement that will now enable every business to operate viably, which is exactly what we have been calling for. We know that removing the requirement to wear a mask in the workplace will really help to get people back at work and support the surrounding businesses which is what we need for Victoria to come roaring back,” said Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Paul Guerra.
“I encourage every leader who operates a business in the CBD to encourage their staff back into the office. The QR code check in system is there, the COVID Safe plans are there, now we just need to get the people there.”
What is changing
Coming into effect at 11:59pm on Thursday 8 July, masks will no longer be required in offices, schools, warehouses and other environments that do not require regular contact with the public. Retail, hospitality, entertainment and other public-facing workplaces will continue to require masks and be worn indoors at all times.
Health Minister Martin Foley said that the removal of masks in the workplace should see a revitalisation for Melbourne’s CBD economy, hospitality and retail venues.
After almost six weeks of restrictions, today’s announcement once again brings Metropolitan Victoria and Regional Victoria into alignment, allowing the same density limits to apply across the state of one person per two square meters for hospitality venues, gyms, galleries and sporting venues. All venues will continue to require a COVID Check-in Marshal to be present on site to ensure patrons check-in with the QR code and maintain COVIDSafe principals.
Crowd numbers have also been increased to allow outdoor sporting venues to operate at 75 per cent capacity or allow a maximum of 40,000, while indoor sporting venues can open to 75 per cent of capacity, or up to 7,500 people.
Up to 50 people will be able to hit Melbourne’s dancefloors and theatres will also be able to open to 75 per cent capacity, or a maximum of 2000 patrons.
Private gatherings in the home will continue to be limited to 15 people per day.
All of the changes to restrictions will be in place for 14 days, subject to an assessment of epidemiological risks by the Government's public health team.
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.