Update: Restrictions to ease in Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria, additional restrictions for the construction industry

In response to increasing rates of vaccination, the Victorian Government has today announced a modest easing of restrictions to occur from 11:59pm Friday 17 September, as well as changes to restrictions in the construction industry. A press statement and table of restrictions is attached.

Changes to restrictions are as follows:

Metropolitan Melbourne and Ballarat

From 11:59pm on Friday 17 September, the following restrictions will ease in Metropolitan Melbourne and Ballart:

  • Real estate inspections will resume by appointment only. Only people from the same household will be able to attend the inspection appointment and the real estate agent must stay outdoors during the inspection. Residents of the property must not be present during the inspection.
  • There will be a sixth reason to leave the home: outdoor social interaction. One person will be allowed to meet with one other person not from their household for a picnic, walk, or another outdoor activity. Up to five adults from two households and dependents will also be able to gather outdoors if all adults present have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Two people will now be able to train outdoors with a personal trainer and skate parks and outdoor communal exercise equipment will reopen.
  • The time permitted for exercise and outdoor social interaction will now be four hours a day, which is an increase from the previous two hours that were permitted for exercise.
  • The 5km travel limit will increase to 10km for shopping for necessary goods and services, exercise and outdoor social interaction.
  • Child-minding for school-aged children will be permitted if only one parent is an authorised worker. Previously, child-minding was only permitted where both parents are authorised workers.

The curfew will remain in place.

Regional Victoria

From 11:59pm 17 September, the following restrictions will ease in Regional Victoria, except in Ballarat:

  • Indoor recreation and sporting facilities (including gyms) and outdoor and indoor pools (excluding spas, saunas and steam rooms) will reopen with limits, and hydrotherapy and swimming lessons can occur.
  • Tour buses can operate with up to 10 people.

Changes to the Construction Industry

Construction workers state-wide will need to show evidence to their employer that they have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11:59pm Thursday 23 September. Limited medical exemptions and proof-of-booking exceptions will apply.

Construction workers will also not be able to cross the metropolitan-regional boundary for work.

Tea rooms must be closed and food and drink will not be able to be consumed indoors at work.

Worker shift bubbles will be required. This means that groups of workers should be rostered on the same shifts and in the same areas of a worksite.

All sites must have a COVIDSafe Marshal on site.

We consider it is likely that there will be obligations placed on both workers and the employers in respect of compliance with these requirements. We will provide a further exploration of what employers will need to do to satisfy their obligations when the information becomes available.

Roadmap for reopening

The Victorian Government has confirmed that a roadmap for further opening of restrictions will be announced on Sunday, which will include details of what restrictions will ease and at what thresholds.

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.