Premier announces latest changes to restrictions

Staff writers

PREMIER Daniel Andrews has today announced the latest easing of restrictions.

From midnight tonight, these changes will apply:

Masks will now only be required in high-risk settings such as shopping centres, public transport and indoor markets.

Up to 30 people can attend a home per day.

Up to 100 people can attend outdoor gatherings.

The planned increase for office workers to return to work can go ahead at 75 per cent across both public and private sectors from tonight.

For most workers, this will mean returning to the office from Monday, March 1.

“I want to extend my thanks to each and every Victorian for the way they have conducted themselves,” Mr Andrews told media this morning.

“The short sharp circuit breaker was effective, that strategy worked, as to waiting this extra time to see those cases through the 14-day period.

“These (changes) are based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer to return to the COVIDSafe summer settings, not those at New Year’s Eve, but in place at Christmas.”

But some restrictions current in place will remain as is.

Density limits in pubs, restaurants and cafes will remain at 1 person per 2sq metres for both indoors and outdoors with no other cap, so long as electronic record keeping – a QR code – is used.

For small operations, there’ll be no density limits if the patron number is under 25 and they will still be required to keep records. For beauty services, businesses remain at 1 person per 2sq metres – if they also introduce electronic record keeping.

For businesses where that’s not possible, density limits of 1 person per 4 sq metres will apply.

Retail businesses also remain at 1 person per 2sq metres and electronic record keeping is recommended where practical.

Funerals and weddings are subject to a density limit of 1 person per 2sq metres.

The same rules will apply to nightclubs and our community facilities, like our libraries, RSLs, and community halls.

In gyms, the density limit remains 1 per 4sq metres – with exercise classes limited to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.

The State of Emergency – which needs to be declared so the Chief Health Officer can issue directions to respond to the pandemic and keep Victorians safe – will be extended to 11:59pm, March 15, 2021.

Mr Andrews said 50 per cent capacities would apply at the state’s major AFL venues, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Marvel Stadium.

“None of it is possible without the extraordinary efforts of every single Victorian,” he said.

A total of 16,594 test results have been received since yesterday, lifting the total of tests conducted since the start of the pandemic to 4,942,705.