The Victorian government has finally revealed details of its reopening plan, providing a ray of hope for residents and businesses across the state.
Victoria’s new ‘Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan’ has been developed based on expert modelling from the Burnet Institute, and is set against COVID-19 thresholds including hospitalisation rates and vaccination targets already set out in the federal government’s reopening plan.
When Victoria reaches the 70 per cent double-dose vaccination milestone, changes will include an increase in numbers for public gatherings outdoors, funerals, weddings and religious gatherings, with larger caps for people who are fully vaccinated.
Creative studios, amusement parks, entertainment venues and hospitality will also reopen with patron cap and density limits, but only to people who have received both jabs.
The Victorian government said in a press statement that given the “very little precedence” in Australia for fully-vaccinated events, the state government will conduct trials to support businesses in the lead-up to transitioning to a “vaccinated economy”.
Both one-off events and specific venues will be considered, with businesses permitted to operate with higher patron caps if all staff and patrons provide evidence of full vaccination.
Areas in regional Victoria with the highest vaccination rates and no COVID-19 cases will be the first to be considered for these trials.
Proof-of-vaccination options will also be part of the trials. The Service Victoria app will be integrated with a Medicare certificate that shows proof of vaccination, and the state government added that other options may also be trialled to determine what works best for both businesses and patrons.
Another key part of Victoria’s roadmap when the state hits that 70 per cent double-dose vaccination milestone will be getting more activities outside.
Based on the success of its summer’s outdoor dining program, the Victorian government will be looking to provide additional funding to councils and businesses to get even more activities outside, with more details to be released about this soon.
For the final phase of the roadmap, the state has opted to wait until more details are developed as part of the National Plan as it moves beyond 80 per cent double-dose vaccination rates.
However, the Victorian government notes it is working towards having 30 visitors to the home by late December, and is hoping that travel across both interstate and international borders will be happening again by then.
The unveiling of Victoria’s reopening roadmap comes as Greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire entered a seven-day lockdown overnight due to increasing COVID cases, with restrictions the same as those in Ballarat and metropolitan Melbourne, excluding the curfew.
Victoria’s chief health officer, Dr Brett Sutton, has also declared that 66 local government areas in NSW, plus Jervis Bay, will move from an extreme-risk zone to a red zone under the state’s travel permit system.
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