THE good news is the State Government “is working hard” to get regional Victoria open as planned next week.

But one of the trade-offs could be that regional areas may be asked to trial a key aspect of life in Victoria, and across Australia once we reach 70% and 80% fully vaccinated – “lockouts” instead of “lockdowns”.

Speaking at his morning COVID update briefing on Friday, August 3, Premier Daniel Andrews said that while Victoria wasn’t in a position to start locking out unvaccinated people from businesses, events and locations, the opening up of regional Victoria next week could provide the chance to trial what’s involved with lockouts.

In that sense, it’s more good news for regional Victoria because the opening up of the regions serves another purpose for the government.

QUESTION: With the trials, in terms of what’s going on in the background, is that specifically about how a lockout would work?

PREMIER: Yes, so we will do some industry pilots quite soon, where we will have, and it may well be, with some positive news for regional Victoria next week, which is what we’re all working towards, it may well mean that we can do some of those trials as part of that opening up,” Mr Andrews said.

“What we think is very important, not that they will only be open to vaccinated people. We’re too low for that, but we can do some of those pilots safely in regional Victoria, potentially hopefully because they will be not locked down anymore.

“But today’s not the day for their announcements but that’s what we’re working really hard to get to. This is just about trying to make sure that we’ve got all the practical things ready so that we can when we get to that 70% and 80%, when we get to those, those higher numbers of double dose, we can have the places open as possible, functioning, trading, with business people making profits, people securing jobs, doing all of that work, as much as we can, as safely as we can, and hopefully it’s also a reminder to people that there’s every good reason to get vaccinated, all the health reasons, plus if you want to go and do the things you love, get yourself double dosed and there’s 50,000 AstraZeneca appointments available today.”

Mr Andrews said earlier, during discussions about making vaccination mandatory in some areas, including health care, the making vaccination compulsory would be part of the “final push” in those areas.

“We will have an economy that operates much more freely and openly for the vaccinated, we’re doing trials at the moment to be ready for that. I’ve agreed with the Prime Minister, and I’ve made that very clear to him, that’s what I want to do and that’s what we are doing, and we’ll have more to say because that’s not a simple thing, that takes quite a lot of planning and work and that’s been going on for quite some time.

“But we’ll have more definitive announcements to make about that. I’m just trying to give people a sense of some of the stuff that’s going on in the background at the moment, as I said before there’s a power of work that needs to be done in terms of compulsory vaccination.”