Victorians will not be required to wear masks in most indoor indoor settings as the government announces sweeping changes to its Covid restrictions.
Mandates on face coverings will be lifted from midnight on Friday, with only a few key workers required to keep wearing masks.
People will also be asked to return to offices as the work from home recommendation is lifted and the government prioritises restoring Melbourne’s CBD.
‘The last three or four months, we have been better off in New South Wales and Victoria and the country has been better off because the two biggest states have worked hard to try and have the similar rules,’ Premier Dan Andrews said in a press conference on Wednesday morning.
‘As I said on Thursday, I was very confident we would get to this place and here we are, same rules as Sydney, masks off and people back in the office from the end of this week. That is a good outcome.’
Masks will no longer be needed in most Victorian indoor settings, the Victorian state government has announced
WHO NEEDS TO WEAR MASKS IN VICTORIA
• Students in Year 3 and above in primary school
• Teachers of all year levels
• Hospitality and retail workers
• Healthcare workers
• People visiting hospitals or aged care facilities
• Workers at indoor events with more than 30,000 in attendance
• People in court and correctional facility settings
It’s expected Mr Andrews will confirm changes to Victoria’s mask mandate, with face coverings only required in certain circumstances.
Those include public transport, taxis and ride share services, planes and indoors at airports.
Masks will also be required for people visiting or working in hospitals, as well as aged care facilities.
Hospitality employees will be required to keep working masks, as will retail workers and people at correctional facilities and attending court.
Students in Year 3 and above at primary school will require masks, as will teachers at all primary schools and early learning centres.
Students in high school will not be required to wear face coverings.
‘The judgement has been made and I think many teachers would support it,’ Mr Andrews said of the school rules.
‘It’s a lot easier to get kids in Year 1 or 2 or 3 to get them to wear the masks properly than kids who are a bit older.’
Workers at indoor events that have more than 30,000 people in attendance will also be required to wear masks.
The work from home recommendation will also be removed as Mr Andrews asks Victorians to return to the office and restore Melbourne’s CBD.
‘Same rules as Sydney, masks off and people back in the office this week,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘We will have masks off inside and people will be coming back to work. That means there are literally no rules.’
Premier Dan Andrews will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning to outline the overhauling of the state’s current Covid restrictions
The state government on Monday announced the funding, which includes about $100 million in rebate schemes to entice people to spend on dining, entertainment and travel within the state.
‘We think this is the best way to target support,’ Victorian Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula told reporters.
Victoria will pour another $30 million into its long-running travel voucher program, allowing people to claim rebates when spending $400 or more on accommodation, experiences, tours or attractions.
Mr Pakula anticipates the latest 150,000 vouchers will be available by mid-March, well before the Easter holidays.
The Melbourne Money scheme will also return, with $10 million to lure diners back into the city’s bars, cafes and restaurants.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the payback scheme, which will give diners rebates of 25 per cent on bills between $40 and $500 from Monday to Thursday, will be available from March 7.
‘The Omicron fog is lifting. COVID caution is turning to COVID confidence,’ she said.
The concept will be extended to a $30 million program to provide rebates on food, wine and experiences in regional areas, while a further $30 million has been set aside to reimburse patrons for tickets to theatres, live music venues, cinemas, museums, galleries and other events.
These rebates will likely become available towards the end of March, Mr Pakula said.
In addition, businesses will share in $60 million to purchase equipment to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and another $34.2 million will be used to place workers in more than 1500 jobs in hospitality, warehousing, logistics, tourism and food processing.