Victoria Covid changes as Dan Andrews’ government announces mask mandate

Victorians are ordered to wear masks in ALL indoor settings and are told to work from home and sit down at the pub – in first major changes after emergency Omicron national cabinet meeting

Victorians have been ordered to wear face masks in all indoor public spaces as part of major changes to the state’s social distancing measures.

The state’s Deputy Premier James Merlino said from 11.59pm on Thursday face coverings would once again be mandatory for patrons at cafes, restaurants and pubs in a bid to stem the spread of the new Omicron variant.

Residents attending major events with more than 30,000 spectators will also have to wear a face mask.

Mr Merlino said Victorians should also now work from home if they can and urged hospitality venues to switch to a seated-only service to reduce transmission. 

Victoria earlier in the day confirmed another 2,005 new infections and ten deaths – up from the 1,503 cases recorded on Wednesday.

The deputy premier said the changes were ‘modest measures’ that would protect the state’s health system from the recent surge in infections.

Victorians have been ordered to wear face masks in all indoor public spaces from 11.59pm on Thursday night. Pictured is a pop-up Covid clinic in Melbourne’s north 

‘Masks have a very small individual cost for us,’ he said. They have a terrific impact on transmission – that is as true for Omicron as for any variant.’

There are 398 Victorians receiving care in hospital with 72 in intensive care, a small increase from 394 in hospital and 70 in ICU on Wednesday. 

Mr Merlino’s NSW counterpart Dominic Perrottet has refused to bring back a sweeping indoor mask mandate – despite many health experts recommending residents continue wearing the face coverings indoors. 

More to come