BREAKING: Victoria Reinstates Indoor Mask Mandate

A "commonsense" approach

Article heading image for BREAKING: Victoria Reinstates Indoor Mask Mandate

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In the wake of Wednesday's ambiguous emergency Cabinet Meeting, senior state officials met overnight to review Victoria's restrictions amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

On advice of the chief health officer, Acting Premier James Merlino announced on Thursday morning, in a “commonsense” move, from 11.59pm Thursday, December 23, masks will return for indoor public setting and events.

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“This is a sensible response which will allow businesses to stay open, bars and restaurants to continue to stay open and major events to go ahead,” he said.

“Masks are a cheap and effective way to maintain the health of the community and it’s something public health experts have been calling for.”

To the relief of many Victorians, Mr Merlino reassured the press that the state's high vaccination rate meant that lockdowns were not considered a reasonable option.

“We’re able to keep our state open because more than 90 per cent of Victorians got vaccinated, in record time,” he said.

“We’re not going back to lockdowns; we’re vaccinating our way through."

“These are modest but meaningful steps we can take over summer to ensure we stay open and see the people we love this Christmas," he purported.

“Masks and boosters mean less Covid exposure, fewer workers in isolation and more businesses open and disruption free.”

- Mr Merlino

Furthermore, Health minister Martin Foley said that in addition to mask mandates, they strongly "recommended" a number of scenarios leading up to the festive season.

The first advice for Victorians is to work from home when possible, and the second recommendation is for hospitality venues to, “when they can”, provide seated service and leave dance floors for outdoor, well ventilated areas.

"We acknowledge that Victorians have done so much to go out and get vaccinated in such strong numbers. And we’ve delivered on our part of the national plan for reopening," he said.

"But a new variant of concern has arisen globally and we need to take measures to protect our community from that rapidly spreading variant whilst our health experts...understand what it means for our community going into 2022."

- Mr Foley

In a snapshot:

  • Face masks will be required in all indoor settings, except private homes, for persons eight and over.
  • Face masks will also be required at major outdoor events for people over 30,000 people. They can be removed when seated.
  • Work from home if you can over the festive period. This is a recommendation.

 Victoria reported a spike in cases on Thursday with 2005 new infections and 10 deaths.


Join Tom Tilley with regular rotating co-hosts Jan Fran, Annika Smethurst and Jamila Rizvi on The Briefing, Monday - Saturday, for the day's headlines and breaking news as well as hot topics and interviews. Available on Listnr.

Hit News Team

23 December 2021

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