MASKS will only be required in a limited number places from 11:59pm Sunday night, December 6.
They include on public transport, in rideshare vehicles and taxis, in some retail settings including indoor shopping centres, supermarkets, department stores and indoor markets.
But, other than that, in an announcement by the Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday morning, the masks are off!
There has been a wide-sweeping easing of restrictions in other areas as well, but with it comes compliance requirements on all cafes, pubs and restaurants – the use of electronic record keeping [QR codes] is now mandatory.
And in a welcome move ahead of faith celebrations at Christmas, a 1 person per 2 square metre rule applies, essentially meaning that 100s, not 30 or 40 will be able to attend mass and other church services.
But the health advice still stands: no hugs, no handshakes and if you’re feeling sick, you need to get tested and stay home.
Statement by the Premier, Sunday, December 6:
“2020 has seen us embrace a new vocabulary. We’ve become experts on ‘Reff rates’ and ‘roadmaps’ – on following the rules and sticking to restrictions,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in his last major COVID-19 announcement.
“Week after week, change and change – we adapted, and readapted. But we did it, because it meant keeping our state safe.
“Until we have a vaccine – and even then, until we have a widely distributed vaccine – some aspects of these rules and restrictions must continue to be part of our reality.
“At the same time, and because of the efforts of every Victorian, we’re able to end this year with far fewer limits on what we can and can’t do.
“Our new ‘COVIDSafe Summer’ will be in place until at least the end of January, giving Victorians a bit more certainty about what the next couple of months will look like.
“These are the restrictions that will see us through the summer months – and living as normally as we can until we get a greater sense of what the rest of 2021 will look like.
“Under the changes, and from Sunday night, December 6 at 11:59pm, masks will only be required in a limited number of places: on public transport, in rideshare vehicles and taxis, in some retail settings including indoor shopping centres, supermarkets, department stores and indoor markets.
“While masks are no longer mandated in most circumstances, the evidence is clear wearing a face covering makes a real difference in slowing the spread of the virus – so masks continue to be recommended indoors or outdoors when distancing can’t be maintained.
“As has been previously announced, Victorians will be able to host up to 30 people in their home. Outdoor gatherings in public places – the beach, the park – can increase to 100.
“Density limits in our pubs, restaurants and cafes will shift to 1 person per 2sq metres for both indoors and outdoors with no other cap.
“The use of electronic record keeping – a QR code – will be mandatory.
“And for small operations, there’ll be no density limits if the patron number is under 25. For retail and beauty services, businesses will be able to move to 1 person per 2sq metres – if they also introduce electronic record keeping.
“For businesses where that’s just not possible, the existing density limits will continue to apply.
“The cap for funerals and weddings will also be removed, subject to a new density limit of 1 person per 2sq metres.
“For those who want to dance on their special day – or maybe even the Nutbush – dancefloors will be able to host up to 50 people, with a density of 1 person per 4sqm. The same rules will apply to nightclubs.
“But remember, the health advice still stands: no hugs, no handshakes and if you’re feeling sick, you need to get tested and stay home.
“The same new density limits will apply for community facilities, like our libraries, RSLs, and community halls. In gyms, the density limit will move to 1 per 4sq metres – with exercise classes limited to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.
“And more relaxed restrictions for our entertainment venues will see more Victorians enjoying everything that makes us the cultural capital of Australia.
“For those sick of only seeing their colleagues in a square on the screen, we’ll be able to move to a 50 per cent return for office workers by 11 January, after considering the public health advice at the time.
“For the Victorian public service, up to 25 per cent will be able to return to the office from 11 January, moving up to 50 per cent on 8 February.”
Details of further changes will be made available online.
“As always, this won’t be everything for everyone. But these are the careful steps we can take as we continue to protect our state and everything we’re built. Victoria, enjoy your summer. You’ve earned it,” Mr Andrews said.
Here are some of the specifics:
* Weddings: No maximum attendee caps indoors or outdoors, density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm applies when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. If held in a private residence, up to 30 guests can attend. Density quotient of 1 per 4sqm on a dancefloor up to a maximum of 50 people.
* Funerals: No maximum attendee caps indoors or outdoors, density quotient of 1 per 2sqm applies when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. If held in a private residence, up to 30 guests can attend.
* Ceremonies and religious gatherings: Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm applies. Venues using the density quotient of 1 per 2sqm must use electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. Indoor and outdoor ceremonies can occur at the same time.
* Face masks: Must be carried at all times. Mandatory when inside shopping centres, retail stores inside shopping centres, department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, hardware stores or supermarkets, when travelling on public transport or when travelling in a commercial passenger vehicle (unless a lawful exemption applies). Any person diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19, or who is a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, must wear a face covering if leaving home/accommodation for a permitted reason, such as medical care. Face coverings are recommended, but not mandatory, when leaving home and physical distancing cannot be maintained, for example, while shopping.
* Workplaces: Continued phased return to on-site work for workers who have been working from home, capped at no more than 25 per cent of a workforce on-site. Offices will be able to increase to 50 per cent from 11 January 2021 – or for workplaces with fewer than 40 staff, up to 20 staff onsite – subject to public health advice. The Victorian Public Service can commence a phased return to work at 25 per cent from 11 January and increase to 50 per cent from 8 February 2021, subject to public health advice. All workplaces with onsite workers require a COVIDSafe Plan.
* Social gatherings: Leave home: No restriction on reasons to leave home but stay safe. Public gatherings: Up to 100 people can gather outdoors from any number of households, infants under 12 months are not included in the cap. Visitors to the home: Up to 30 visitors can visit a home in a day (infants under 12 months are not counted in the cap). Visitors may be from any number of households and may visit either together or separately. Front and backyards are considered part of the home.
More to follow: