With a consistent dip in hospitalisation rates and greater number of people getting their third vaccination doses, the Victorian government has announced that they are withdrawing the work-from-home advisory. Further, the state has also eased mask mandates at workplaces and most indoor settings, effective February 25th, 11:59PM.
As per the notice, face masks will only be worn by the following individuals:
- People on public transport, in taxis and rideshare, on planes, and indoors at an airport
- People working in or visiting hospitals, and indoor areas at care facilities
- Workers in hospitality, retail, and the court system
- Workers at justice and correctional facilities
- Students in year three or above at primary school, and workers at early childhood centres and primary schools (masks can be removed in secondary school)
- People working indoors at an event with more than 30,000 people attending
"Victorians have done such a great job getting vaccinated, so we're able to take safe steps to get more people to return to the office," Health Minister Martin Foley said in a statement.
Masks also remain mandatory for those suffering from COVID-19 and for their close contacts who need to leave their homes. The mandate also remains in place for employees in jobs that involve facing the public, such as meeting guests or serving customers.
"We're balancing the need to support our health system with the benefits of easing restrictions in a careful and sensible way," Foley said.
Victoria reported 6,786 new COVID-19 cases of COVID-19 this week on Tuesday, according to its health department, with 47,464 active cases. While 55.9% of its eligible population have received their third vaccine doses, 93.9% of those who are eligible also got their second vaccine dose.
Reportedly, the Ministry of Health is extending the deadline for workers that need to receive their third COVID-19 vaccine dose. Fully vaccinated workers who are also not yet eligible for their third dose will have their deadlines three months and two weeks from when they had their second COVID-19 shot.
While there is a four week timeline from date of arrival for workers who recently arrived in the country to get their third dose, workers with temporary medical exemptions will need to have their third dose two weeks after the expiration of their medical exemption.
With easing of safety protocols despite active cases in thousands, it remains to be seen how people respond to the new government issued mandates.