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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Victoria Is Ditching Venue and Gathering Restrictions (and Opening Dance Floors) at 11.59pm Tonight

The state is set to hit 90-percent double jabs among over 12s, so it's easing restrictions again — earlier than expected, too.
By Sarah Ward
November 18, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
November 18, 2021
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Restrictions on how many people can attend restaurants, entertainment sites and other venues have been a regular part of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, but they're about to become a thing of the past in Victoria. Limits on the amount of people that you can hang out with at home are going the same way, too. With the state set to reach the 90-percent double-vaccinated mark among over 12s in the coming days, these kinds of caps and density rules will no longer apply — effective from 11.59pm tonight, Thursday, November 18.

So, once Friday, November 19 hits — unless you're venturing out just before the stroke of midnight this evening — double-vaccinated Victorians will be able to head to all hospitality, entertainment and nightlife venues without needing to abide by any other density or patron restrictions. That applies to places such as restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes, nightclubs, cinemas, zoos, stadiums, galleries, libraries and museums, and to all events, including everything from festivals to fun runs.

The basic rule: if all venue patrons and staff are double-jabbed, there's no capacity limits. Events with fewer than 30,000 people won't need approval, either.

That said, if you aren't double-vaxxed, you won't be able to go to most of these places or events at all. You can still go to hospitality venues that are only doing takeaway, but that's it.

The change means that dance floors are back, too, so Melbourne will no longer resemble the town from Footloose — again, only if you're double-vaxxed.

In the retail space, the double-vaxxed requirement will apply to entering all non-essential stores, including beauty services and hairdressers. So, only places such as supermarkets and post offices will be accessible to unvaxxed patrons.

All sporting and recreational facilities won't have capacity limits for double-jabbed folks either, but if you aren't vaxxed, you won't be able to enter — other than for community sport.

There's also no limits on hanging out with friends and family either at home or in public — so while picnicking or at the beach — although it's strongly recommended that everyone is double-jabbed. Plus, for weddings and funerals, there's no limits at all if everyone is double-vaxxed. If not, or if vaccination status isn't being checked, there will be a 50-person cap — and the one person per four-square-metres rule will be in effect.

And, regarding travel, there's no restrictions. The double-vaccination mandate to enter venues applies statewide; however, for accommodation premises such as hotels and Airbnbs, being double-jabbed is strongly recommended instead.

The requirements around masks are changing as well, and will only be compulsory indoors in limited circumstances — such as retail, health care, aged care, justice facilities, public transport, taxis, ride shares, planes and for workers serving the public at hospitality venues. And, as long as hospitalisations don't jump significantly, the retail requirement will end on Wednesday, December 15.

That said, it's still highly recommended that Victorians keep masking up anywhere that you can't physically distance from other people.

The 90-percent double-jabbed threshold among over 12s was originally expected to be reached on or around Wednesday, November 24, so Victoria is ahead of schedule. At the press conference to announce the easing rules, Premier Daniel Andrews called it "quite an amazing achievement".

When the new changes kick in at 11.59pm tonight, the requirements for anyone who comes into contact with a confirmed positive case outside their home will change, too. If that's you, you will no longer need to self-quarantine. Instead, you'll just have to get a standard (PCR) test and isolate till you receive a negative result.

Also, exposure sites will no longer be published. Instead, you'll be notified via the new alert function in the Service Victoria app if you've been to a higher-risk venues where positive cases have been present — places such as restaurants, gyms and nightclubs.

Today's announcement comes as 1007 new local COVID-19 cases were reported in Victoria.

Victoria's COVID-19 restrictions will relax again at 11.59pm on Thursday, November 18. For further information about Victoria's reopening roadmap, head to the Victorian Government website. For more information about the status of COVID-19 and the current restrictions, head over to the Department of Health website.

Top image: Visit Victoria.

Published on November 18, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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