Update: Lockdown to End in City of Greater Geelong and Surf Coast Shire, Restrictions to Ease in Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne, Vaccinated Economy Trials to Commence

Over the weekend the Victorian Government has announced a modest easing of restrictions in both Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne to take place from 11.59pm on Tuesday 28 September.

These changes will occur as a result of 80% of Victorians having received this first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This was regarded as ‘Phase A’ in our update from 19 September 2021. A press statement and table of restrictions is attached.

There are also changes to the lockdown status of the City of Greater Geelong and Surf Coast Shire.

Changes to restrictions will be as follows.

Lockdown to End in City of Greater Geelong and Surf Coast Shire

From 11:59pm 26 September, the lockdown in the City of Greater Geelong and Surf Coast Shire has lifted. These regions are now subject to the restrictions applicable in Regional Victoria.

Mitchell Shire remains in lockdown and has controls consistent with Metropolitan Melbourne

Regional Victoria – Areas Not in Lockdown

Food and drink facilities will have their outdoor venue caps increased from 20 to 30 people.

Masks may be removed if the service requires it in hair and beauty salons.

Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Areas in Lockdown

Outdoor recreation facilities can re-open with ‘contactless access’, permitting activities such as boating, tennis or golf for limited groups.

Public gathering limits apply, meaning that group size is limited to two people from separate households, or up to five people from two households if all persons aged 18 years or older have received two vaccine doses. A facility-wide limit has not yet been confirmed.

‘Contactless access’ has not yet been defined in any published documents – but presumably there may be some additional measures that venue operators need to take when allowing access to venues. We will continue to monitor this and will provide further information when updated Directions are published.

The 10km travel radius will increase to 15km, meaning that a person can undertake exercise and shopping for necessary goods and services up to 15km from their home.

Personal training will be permitted to take place with five fully vaccinated people outside plus a fully vaccinated trainer.

Additional restrictions on playgrounds will be lifted, meaning that normal public gathering limits apply and masks can be removed to eat and drink at the playground.  

Vaccinated Economy Trials

The Victorian Government has also announced that ‘vaccinated economy trials’ will occur from 11 October 2021. A press statement regarding these trials is attached.

These trials are designed to ‘road-test’ the next phase of the national plan – which is ‘Phase B’, the restrictions that will apply when 70% of the 16+ population is fully vaccinated (currently estimated at 26 October 2021).

These trials will cover hospitality, hairdressing, beauty services and tourism businesses and will allow select venues to test the settings that will apply in Regional Victoria once 70% of Victorians are fully vaccinated, as outlined in the Victorian Government’s roadmap. Under these settings, for instance, food and drink facilities will be able to open for seated service only to a maximum of 30 people indoors with a density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm, and a maximum of 100 patrons outdoors with a density quotient of 1 person per 2sqm.

The trials will also confirm the best process for establishing vaccination status, with work underway on how Commonwealth vaccination data can be best integrated with the Service Victoria app.

The Bass Coast, Greater Bendigo, Pyrenees, Warrnambool, Buloke and East Gippsland municipalities will be the first invited to participate in the trials.

Further trials have also been foreshadowed to occur to also test the ‘Phase C’ settings – those that will apply once 80% of 16+ Victorians are fully vaccinated. Venues within those applicable areas wishing to be involved in these trials have been advised by the State Government to contact their representative bodies (i.e. the Australian Hotels Association, Community Clubs Victoria, etc.) to express their interest.

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.