Life in Victoria is feeling much closer to normal after COVID-19 restrictions eased further for those fully vaccinated against the virus.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced restrictions would ease at midnight ahead of the state reaching its 90 per cent vaccination milestone in the next few days.
The change will mean there will be no more density restrictions anywhere.
“There are no more caps, there are no more closures. There are no more rules in terms of how many people can be in different spaces,” Mr Andrew said.
There will no longer be the need to wear a mask to enter a building and fully vaccinated people will be able to return to the office.
Here’s a full rundown of what will change and when.
Will I still have to wear a face mask?
In certain circumstances, yes.
Masks will still be required in indoor retail settings, for primary school staff, visitors and for students in grades 3 and above, for select workers in hospitals or care facilities, as well as for people using public transport, taxis, rideshare services and planes.
Retail customers will no longer need to wear masks after December 15 — in line with New South Wales’ restrictions — providing the state’s hospitals are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
People working in high-risk settings such as corrections, meat, poultry and seafood processing will still need to wear masks.
There will still be mask requirements in place for weddings, funerals, places of worship and other settings if the vaccination status of attendees is not being checked.
How many people will I be able to have in my home?
As many as you like! There will be no limits on gatherings at home or outdoors.
However, the Victorian Government is “strongly recommending” everyone visiting a home or gathering in a public place be fully vaccinated.
Can I go back to work/the office?
On-site work can resume as normal — only for the fully vaccinated.
How many people will be allowed to attend venues and events?
There will be no more COVID-19 restrictions on cafes, restaurants, venues or events.
They will mostly be able to operate as they did pre-pandemic except for the fact that all attendees, customers and staff will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The rule change will mean large-scale events such as the upcoming Boxing Day Ashes Test at the MCG will be able to go ahead with a full crowd of 100,000 vaccinated attendees.
“Whether it is 100,000 people at the MCG on Boxing Day, or a smaller group of people standing up at the local pub having a beer, this is a COVID normal that every Victorian has wanted,” Mr Andrews said.
“Significant venues” hosting major events will need to have one-off government approval of their COVIDSafe venue plan.
Events with significant numbers of children may not be able to operate at full capacity while vaccines remain unavailable for young kids.
What restrictions will be in place for retail and personal services?
A key change coming in tonight is vaccination certificates will be required to enter non-essential retail stores — that means pretty much any store that isn’t a supermarket, post office or chemist.
Masks will still be required in retail stores until December 15, providing the state’s hospitals are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Only the fully vaccinated will be able to attend personal services including hairdressing and beauty services, and real estate open for inspections and auctions.
What will restrictions be for schools, childcare and adult education?
Schools, childcare centres and early childhood educations will be completely open.
Staff must wear masks indoors at primary schools, as must all students in grade 3 and above and visitors.
Only the fully vaccinated will be able to attend adult education in person.
Will isolation requirements change?
From tonight, close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases will no longer have to isolate for seven days. Instead, they will only need to get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.
The new rule will not apply to household contacts, but it means people who have been in close contact with a positive case at venues such as offices, restaurants and other locations will not need to isolate.
“As long as (your test) is negative, you are free to go about your life,” Health Minister Martin Foley said.
Exposure sites will no longer be published and the Department of Health will instead use a new alert function in the Service Victoria app to notify patrons of higher-risk venues positive cases have attended.
Those people will be required to get tested.
What will life look like for the unvaccinated?
Unvaccinated people will legally not be allowed to work in “essential” roles, and they will not be able to attend cafes, restaurants, venues, non-essential shops or events.
They will still be able to attend essential stores like supermarkets and post offices, and if organisers choose not to enforce vaccination statuses, they will be able to attend private real estate inspections.
They will mostly only be able to visit homes, be outdoors and go to essential shops.
Where will I be able to travel?
Victorians will be able to freely travel around the state.
They will also be able to travel interstate, depending on each state’s border restrictions.
International travel is also allowed for Victorians.