Victoria has recorded 1,488 new Covid-19 cases and two deaths as the state prepares to restart the construction industry.
Construction workers will be allowed to return to the worksite from Tuesday, with several safeguards in place.
Under the plan, constructions sites can reopen for workers who have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. They must be fully vaccinated by November 13.
All operators will need to formally attest their site complies with the industry-wide health directions.
Workforce caps remain for some building sites, except for outdoor state government projects, and single-dose workers can set up ahead of Tuesday’s reopening.
Construction workers will be allowed to return to the worksite from Tuesday, with several safeguards in place
Fully vaccinated workers can move between regional Victoria and Melbourne, while tearooms will reopen with enhanced cleaning, density limits and additional ventilation
Fully vaccinated workers can move between regional Victoria and Melbourne, while tearooms will reopen with enhanced cleaning, density limits and additional ventilation.
The reopening comes after the construction industry was placed into a two-week lockdown following anti-vaccination demonstrations.
The new cases announced on Saturday smash the pandemic record 1,438 that were recorded on Thursday.
There were 36,878 vaccines administered and 71,224 Covid-19 tests conducted in the last 24 hours.
Premier Daniel Andrews has given all authorised workers an ultimatum: get vaccinated within the next two weeks or risk losing their jobs.
Authorised workers must also have their first vaccine dose by October 15 and a second by November 26 to keep working on site.
The requirement will cover retail workers, personal trainers, MPs, journalists, faith leaders, judges, police, lawyers, actors and professional sportspeople.
Of the 1.25 million estimated authorised workers in the state, Premier Daniel Andrews said more than a million had already had their first dose.
He argues the policy shift is needed to curb rising case numbers after the state reported another 1143 infections and three deaths.
The state government plans to consult with certain industries such as energy, waste management and faith leaders but Mr Andrews flagged there would be few exemptions.
Victoria recorded 1,488 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday with construction set to reopen on Tuesday
Mr Andrews played down the possibility the broader mandate could spark more anti-vaccine protests, with another three demonstrators arrested on Friday
But the Victorian opposition is demanding the public health advice behind the expanded mandate be publicly released
‘There’s too much at stake,’ he said.
The October 15 deadline will not replace Victoria’s separate vaccine mandate timelines for aged care, healthcare, freight, construction and education workers.
Mr Andrews played down the possibility the broader mandate could spark more anti-vaccine protests, with another three demonstrators arrested on Friday.
‘I’m not taking lectures on freedom from people who will hold all of us back,’ he said.
Victorian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Guerra welcomed the decision, saying it ‘provides businesses with the certainty, guidance and protections’.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia also labelled it a ‘step in the right direction’.
‘It protects healthcare workers. It protects patients,’ PSA Victorian branch president John Jackson said.
But the Victorian opposition is demanding the public health advice behind the expanded mandate be publicly released.
‘It has all the appearance of panic,’ Shadow Treasurer David Davis said.
It comes as Greater Shepparton and Moorabool Shire, to the west and north of Melbourne, both entered snap, seven-day lockdowns overnight to contain growing cases.
Shepparton and its surroundings recently battled a major outbreak that sent about a third of its population into home quarantine, before the region emerged from lockdown just over two weeks ago.