Statement by the State Government

VICTORIA will return to its previous COVID-safe settings from midnight tonight Friday, February 26, allowing for more visitors in the home, reduced mask wearing and increasing the number of workers heading back to the office.

The move to further ease restrictions follows a reduced exposure risk and low community transmission.

From 11:59pm tonight, masks will be only be required on public transport, in rideshare vehicles and taxis, in sensitive settings such as aged care facilities – and in some larger retail settings including indoor shopping centres, supermarkets, department stores, 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.

Victorians will be able to host up to 30 people in their home per day. Outdoor gatherings in public places – the beach, the park – can increase to 100 people.

The planned increase for office workers to return to work can go ahead at 75 per cent across both public and private sectors from 11:59pm tonight. For most workers, this will mean returning to the office from Monday 1 March.

Density limits in pubs, restaurants and cafes will remain at 1 person per 2sq metres for both indoors and outdoors with no other cap, so long as electronic record keeping – a QR code – is used.

For small operations, there’ll be no density limits if the patron number is under 25 and they will still be required to keep records.

For beauty services, businesses remain at 1 person per 2sq metres – if they also introduce electronic record keeping. For businesses where that’s not possible, density limits of 1 person per 4 sq metres will apply.

Retail businesses also remain at 1 person per 2sq metres and electronic record keeping is recommended where practical.

Funerals and weddings are subject to a density limit of 1 person per 2sq metres. The same rules will apply to nightclubs and our community facilities, like our libraries, RSLs, and community halls.

In gyms, the density limit remains 1 per 4sq metres – with exercise classes limited to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.

The State of Emergency – which needs to be declared so the Chief Health Officer can issue directions to respond to the pandemic and keep Victorians safe – will be extended to 11:59pm, 15 March 2021.

For more information on the new coronavirus settings visit coronavirus.com.au

The Premier Daniel Andrews acknowledged it’s been “a hard slog”.

“I want to thank every Victorian for making today’s announcement possible – and I want to thank every Victorian for their patience. It’s been a hard slog, but Victorians are doing what they do best as we work to beat this virus: staying the course and looking out for each other.” For more information call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 or visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

“Thanks to the incredible work of our public health team and all Victorians, we’re now able to continue our road to recovery – but we know the risk to Victorians is far from over,” said Minister for Health Martin Foley.

“The need for our public health team to have the legal ability to enforce measures that keep us safe are at the heart of recovery, which is why the amendment to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act before parliament is so important.

“We expect this legislation to be passed so we can continue to use the tools we need to respond to this global pandemic and keep Victorians safe.”

Restrictions

Social

Leave home: No restriction on reasons to leave home but stay safe.

Public gatherings: Up to 100 people can gather in public 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.

Face masks

Face masks must be carried at all times. Mandatory when inside retail stores where the indoor space is 2,000 square metres or more such as 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 or tour vehicle, when visiting a hospital, when visiting or working in a care facility (unless a lawful exemption applies). A person who is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 must wear a face covering.

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.

Education and childcare

Childcare and early education: Open.

Schools: Open.

Adult education: Open with no density quotient required in classroom settings.

Work

Workers may attend onsite as required. On-site office work capped at no more than 75 per cent of a workforce on-site (both public and private sectors).

All workplaces with onsite workers require a COVIDSafe Plan.

Eating and drinking out

Hospitality: Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm for indoor and outdoor hospitality venues. Up to 25 patrons are permitted in a venue before the density quotient applies. Seated service not required. Density quotient of 1 per 4sqm on a dancefloor up to a maximum of 50 people. All venues are required to use electronic record keeping when applying the density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm (or, for small venues, when applying the patron cap of 25). For venues not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based), a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies.

Food courts: Indoor and outdoor food courts open with a density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm. No patron cap for indoor food courts.

Exercise and recreation

Indoor physical recreation and community sport: A density quotient of 1 per 4sqm applies to each space. Gym and exercise classes limited to 50 people. COVID Marshals required when gyms are staffed. At times when gyms are unstaffed, a density quotient of 1 per 8 sqm applies. Signage must state the number of people permitted inside, disinfectant and other cleaning products must be supplied for use by patrons, and record keeping is required. Venues with capacity of greater than 500 patrons must publish a COVIDSafe Plan online.

Outdoor physical recreation and community sport: Up to a maximum of 100 people for outdoor fitness classes with a density quotient of 1 per 2sqm when using electronic recording keeping (if not using electronic record keeping, density quotient of 1 per 4sqm applies). Record keeping is required and venues with capacity of greater than 500 patrons must publish a COVIDSafe Plan online.

Premier Andrews addressed the issue of the return to country football and netball and announced that specific requirements would soon be announced.

Pools, spas, saunas, steam rooms and springs: Indoor venues open with a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm when using electronic recording keeping (if not using electronic record keeping, density quotient of 1 per 4sqm applies). Outdoor pools open with a density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm. Record keeping is required.

Ceremonies and special occasions

Weddings: No maximum attendee caps indoors or outdoors. Record keeping is required. Density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm applies when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. For weddings held at a private residence, the private gathering limit of 30 people applies.

Funerals: No maximum attendee caps indoors or outdoors. Record keeping is required. Density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm applies when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. For funerals held at a private residence, the private gathering limit of 30 people applies.

Ceremonies and religious gatherings: Record keeping is required. 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 keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. Indoor and outdoor ceremonies can occur at the same time.

Community venues, including libraries and toy libraries

Community venues and facilities including libraries and toy libraries: No patron caps with a density quotient of 1 per 2sqm, subject to use of electronic record keeping. If not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm applies.

Creative arts facilities: No patron caps with a density quotient of 1 per 2sqm, subject to use of electronic record keeping.

Real estate

Real estate: Inspections and auctions operating with a density quotient of 1 per 2sqm, subject to use of electronic record keeping. If not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm applies.

Entertainment facilities

Seated entertainment venues (indoors and outdoors): Open, with the total facility patron cap is 75 per cent of seated capacity for a maximum of 1000 per space and all activities are ticketed. Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm in foyers, bars, bathrooms etc when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. Venues with capacity of greater than 500 patrons must publish a COVIDSafe Plan online. For outdoor spaces the patron cap is 75 per cent of seated capacity. Arrangements for capacity over 1000 patrons per space are determined on an individual basis under the Public Events Framework.

Indoor non-seated venues (such as galleries): Open, with a facility patron cap of up to 50 per cent total capacity with maximum patron cap of 1000 people per space. Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. Venues with capacity of greater than 500 patrons must publish a COVIDSafe Plan online. Arrangements for large events determined on an individual basis under the Public Events Framework

Outdoor non-seated entertainment venues (such as Zoos, live museums): Open, density quotient of 1 per 2sqm when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. No group limits. Indoor spaces at outdoor venues open, with non-seated indoor spaces subject to a maximum of 1000 people and seated indoor spaces subject to a cap of 75 per cent of seated capacity up to a maximum of 1000 people per space, or subject to restrictions relevant to the space (e.g. hospitality or retail). Venues with capacity of greater than 500 patrons must publish a COVIDSafe Plan online.

Arcades, escape rooms, bingo centres: Open, no maximum patron caps and a density quotient of 1 per 2sqm applies when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies.

Drive in cinemas: Open, in areas outside of vehicles density quotient of 1 per 2sqm applies when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. Venues with capacity of greater than 500 patrons must publish a COVIDSafe Plan online.

Amusement parks: Open, up to 75 per cent of venue capacity. Density quotient of 1 per 4sqm applies indoors. Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm applies outdoors, when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. Venues with capacity of greater than 500 patrons must publish a COVIDSafe Plan online.

Gaming: Open, with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm, machines 1.5 metres apart or every second machine turned off, and no seated service requirement. Electronic record keeping required and a COVID Marshal required during operating hours.

Adult entertainment: Brothels and sex on premises venues open, with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm and a patron cap of 100. Electronic record keeping required. Strip club venues open, with a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm and no seated service requirement. Electronic record keeping required.

Nightclubs: Open, standing service permitted. Density quotient of 1 per 4sqm on a dancefloor up to a maximum of 50 people. Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm elsewhere in the venue, with no maximum patron limit. Electronic record keeping required.

Shopping, hairdressing and personal care

Retail: (e.g. supermarkets, other retail) Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm, with record keeping where practicable.

Hairdressing, beauty and personal care services: Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm applies, when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record keeping (ie. paper-based) a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies. Face masks no longer required.

Accommodation and travel

Accommodation: Bookings restricted to the private gathering limit. The person or household booking the accommodation can have up to 30 visitors.

Tourism spaces and groups: No patron cap on tour groups. Masks must be worn on tour transport.

Intrastate travel: Allowed.

Interstate travel: Continued international border controls. State border controls activated in case of outbreaks.

Care facilities and hospitals

Visitors: No restrictions on purpose, number or time of visits.

Symptomatic individuals (e.g. sore throat), close contacts and returned international travellers excluded from visiting.

Anzac Day

The Premier Daniel Andrews said he will be seeking to have as usual an Anzac Day observance as possible this year.