Update: Updated Rules announced for 80% and 90% vaccination rate milestones

The State Government has made some very significant announcements today regarding the settings and dates for Victoria when the State reaches 80% (Phase C) and 90% (Phase D) vaccination rates.

A press statement and summary roadmap is attached.

The State will move to Phase C settings from 6:00pm on Friday 29 October 2021.

The State is expected to move to Phase D settings on or around 24 November 2021.

Rules from 29 October 2021

A summary of the changes taking effect on Friday are as follows:

  1. Changes will be generally in accordance with ‘Phase C’ in the attached roadmaps, with changes to previous versions of the roadmaps highlighted in yellow.
  2. Intrastate travel between metropolitan and regional areas can re-commence.
  3. Indoor settings for many businesses including hospitality and gyms will open with no caps but subject to a 1 person per 4 sqm density quotient, provided that all staff or patrons are fully vaccinated.
  4. Outdoor settings will operate up to a 500 patron limit at a density quotient of 1 person per 2sqm density quotient, provided that all staff or patrons are fully vaccinated.
  5. Cinemas, theatres and indoor seated entertainment will open subject to 75% capacity at 1 per 4 sqm.
  6. Indoor standing entertainment venues are open a 1 per 4 sqm density quotient at 150 patrons ‘per space’ with no overall venue cap.
  7. Electronic gaming, non-essential retail and retail betting will re-open in metropolitan Melbourne consistent with regional Victoria.
  8. Arcades, escape rooms and bingo centres will re-open for fully vaccinated patrons subject to density quotients.
  9. Hospitality remains subject to seated service. Dance floors are proposed to be permitted in outdoor spaces.
  10. Masks are required in indoor spaces only.
  11. There remain some settings in the roadmap where facilities can operate with limited settings if the patrons/staff are not fully vaccinated.

Comments for regional Victoria

The Premier made an important note that ‘vaccinated economy’ requirements that were in place in metropolitan Melbourne would effectively be imposed on regional Victoria from 6:00pm on Friday.

Some regional Victorian operators have been able to operate since 22 October 2021 on reduced settings where all staff and patrons are not fully vaccinated. It appears that that will no longer be the case for hospitality operators, who now must comply with the vaccinated economy requirements to open for seated service – consistent with the rules in metropolitan Melbourne. This appears to be reflected in the updated roadmaps.

We understand that the ‘vaccinated economy’ rule from Friday will remain to be for persons aged 16 and up (not 12 and up). There is no indication as to whether or when this setting will change to apply to persons aged 12 and up.

Rules from 24 November 2021

A summary of the changes that will take effect from on or around 24 November 2021 (date to be confirmed) are as follows:

  1. No density quotients or venue caps will apply to businesses, and no gathering limits will apply in private or public settings.
  2. Mask wearing will remain only in high-risk settings (i.e. public transport, hospitals, etc.)
  3. COVIDSafe plans will be streamlined for major events.
  4. Vaccinated economy requirements (i.e. vaccine mandates for staff and patrons) will remain, and are proposed to be expanded to more settings, including non-essential retail. These rules are expected to be ‘enduring’ and remain in place for ‘the entirety of 2022’, to quote the Premier.

These announcements come as a very welcome expectation of the freedoms that can be expected in the near future, in particular the Phase D settings which will come into place well before the Christmas and New Year period.

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.