Update: COVID-19 Restrictions Removed; COVID-19 Land Tax Relief; Liquor Licence Renewal Fees COVID-19 Restrictions Removed; COVID-19 Land Tax Relief; Liquor Licence Renewal Fees

The Victorian Government yesterday announced changes to restrictions in response to COVID-19. A press statement is attached.

From 11:59pm on Friday 22 April, restrictions will ease as follows:

  1. Patrons will not be required to have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or show their vaccination status to enter venues.
  2. The requirement for staff and patrons of venues to check-in using the Service Victoria app will end, with operators not required to keep any attendance records or maintain a check-in marshal.
  3. Masks will no longer be required in primary schools, early childhood, hospitality and retail settings, or at events of any size.
  4. Close contacts will no longer have to quarantine – provided they wear a mask indoors and avoid sensitive settings. They will also need to undertake at least five negative rapid tests over the seven days that would previously have been the self-quarantine period. However, it remains recommended to work from home if you are a close contact. People who have tested positive to COVID-19 will continue to be required to isolate.
  5. Events with more than 30,000 people will no longer require public health pre-approval.
  6. All workplaces will still require a COVIDSafe Plan, however the contents of those plans will clearly be able to be amended to reflect the reduced obligations on businesses.
  7. Vaccine mandates for workers remain in place.

People who have recently had Covid are exempt from testing or quarantining for 12 weeks, which is an increase from the current exemption period of 8 weeks. This exemption means that people who have previously tested positive to Covid within the past 12 weeks will not need to take at least five negative rapid tests in a seven day period, if they are re-exposed to Covid as close contacts during that 12 week window.

Individuals who test positive will be required to notify their workplace contacts, in addition to informing their social contacts. Workplaces will not have to individually identify and notify each potentially exposed worker – however they must still comply with any requirements of their applicable COVIDSafe Plan.

Face coverings will still be required on public transport and at airports – excluding airport workers who aren’t public facing – and in sensitive health, aged care and justice settings.

COVID-19 Land Tax Reductions and Deferrals

The Victorian Government is continuing to provide land tax reductions and deferrals to eligible landlords who have provided rent relief to tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible landlords who provided rent relief between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022 to their eligible tenant under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme are eligible for a 25% reduction in land tax for the relevant property. This is in addition to any relief previously provided and exclusive of any absentee owner surcharge.

These landlords can also defer payment of the remainder of their 2021 land tax assessment (and any 2020 land tax previously deferred under the 2020 relief measures) until or before 31 May 2022. Landlords can also have 2021 land tax that has already been paid returned to them.

However, these landlords must pay their 2021 land tax liability, as reduced, by 31 May 2022.

Applications for this program close on 30 April 2022, and must be made through My Land Tax.

Full eligibility criteria and application information can be found here.

Full information about how to apply can be found here.

Renewal of Liquor Licences

During the COVID-19 pandemic, liquor licence renewal fees were waived, other than for packaged liquor licences.

However, 2022 liquor licence fees were not waived and were payable by 31 March 2022.

Where a licensee has not paid their renewal fees by 31 March 2022, the licence will have temporarily ceased in force, meaning liquor may not be supplied under the licence until such time as it is renewed.

We therefore suggest that all licensees urgently review their liquor licences to ensure that they have been renewed.

As licensees cannot trade under a licence that has ceased in force, so if the licence has not been renewed, it is our advice the licensee should immediately stop trading until the licence is reinstated.

Liquor licences can be renewed by paying the liquor licence renewal fee. The Commission will then process this renewal, and the licence will appear in the liquor portal when it has been reinstated – which may take a day or so to process.

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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