Update: Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions and Further Business Support

The Victoria Government has announced a further easing of restrictions. A press statement is attached.

From 11:59pm on Friday 25 February, masks will not be required in a majority of settings.

We note this easing of mask restrictions does not apply to workers in hospitality premises. Previously when restrictions eased in November 2021, workers in hospitality venues were required to wear masks while in spaces that were open to the public. The recent announcement did not confirm whether this will be the case again. However, it is a possibility that workers in hospitality venues will only be required to wear masks when serving the public.

We will provide confirmation of this when the Orders are issued – but in the interim it should be assumed that staff should wear masks at all times in indoor spaces.

Masks will still be required to be worn indoors by:

  1. Workers in hospitality and retail, and in the court system.
  2. People on public transport, in taxis and rideshare, on planes and indoors at an airport;
  3. People working or visiting hospitals, and indoor areas at care facilities;
  4. Workers at justice and correctional facilities;
  5. Students in Year 3 or above at primary school, and workers at early childhood centres and primary schools (masks can be removed in secondary schools);
  6. People working indoors at an event with more than 30,000 attending;
  7. In special circumstances, such as if you have COVID-19 or are a close contact and you’re leaving home.

The recommendation that Victorians work from home will also be removed from 11:59pm on Friday 25 February.

Further Business Support

The Victorian Government has announced further business support in response to COVID-19. A press statement is attached.

This business support is as follows:

1. Melbourne Money Program

Further Melbourne Money vouchers will allow Victorians to reimburse 25% of dining costs for meals from Monday to Thursday within the CBD when spending between $40 to $500.

Applications for this program will open on 7 March 2022.

2. State-wide Dining Vouchers

A new state-wide dining program will be introduced to cover all of Victoria.

It will reimburse 25% of dining costs for meals in regional Victoria and metropolitan Local Government Areas outside the Melbourne CBD from Monday to Thursday when spending between $40 to $500.

This program is expected to open on 29 March 2022.

3. Entertainment Voucher Scheme

A new $30million entertainment voucher scheme will reimburse part of eligible entertainment costs.

Discounts will be available for tickets to the cinema, theatrical productions, live music, exhibitions, conferences and other events.

This program is expected to open on 29 March 2022.

4. Victorian Travel Voucher Scheme

A new round of this program will provide a $200 voucher for people who spend at least $400 on eligible tourism and travel related services.

This program will open on 23 March 2022 for travel between 8 April and 27 May.

An extra 10,000 vouchers will be set aside for Victorian Seniors that will be released through a ballot. The ballot for Victorian Seniors travel vouchers will open on 15 March for travel between 8 April and 27 May.

5. Ventilation Voucher Program

Small businesses can help purchase equipment upgrades to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and improve customer confidence.

Rebates of up to $5,000 in matched grants will be available, with applications opening in late March 2022.

Vouchers of up to $500 will also be available with applications open in mid-March 2022.

6. Small Business Digital Adaptation Program

A $1,200 rebate will be available for businesses accessing a range of digital business tools to help modernise business operations. This could include online menus and ordering systems, invoicing, stock and business management tools and website and e-commerce platforms.

Applications for this program will open on 28 March 2022.

7. Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring Program

Small businesses can access up to four, two-hour sessions of business coaching to help navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and support owners and staff. Applications for this program are currently open.

8. Jobs Victoria Fund

Funding for the Jobs Victoria Fund will help connect 1,500 Victorians looking for work with businesses looking for workers across hospitality, warehousing and logistics, tourism and food processing.

This program will open from April 2022.

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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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