Today, Victoria recorded 34, 808 new COVID cases. Given the accelerating amount of cases, and the current rate of hospitalisations, workers in key sectors must get a booster shot in order to work onsite. These sectors include healthcare, aged care, disability, emergency services, correctional facility, quarantine accommodation and food distribution workers. Meanwhile, some further COVID restrictions have been introduced to reduce risk, including the closure of indoor dancefloors. These changes will come into place on 11:59pm, Wednesday January 12.
A third shot for key workers
Workers eligible for a third dose will have until Saturday February 12 to get their booster shot. Meanwhile, workers who are not yet eligible for a third dose will need to get it within a certain time frame, depending on their industry.
Here are the dates for each sector:
- Tuesday March 1 – residential aged care workers
- Saturday March 12 – disability, quarantine accommodation, correctional facilities, emergency services and food distribution workers
- Tuesday March 29 – healthcare workers
Retail supermarket staff are not included in this mandate. This requirement will not apply to those with a valid medical exemption.
These sectors were chosen based on increased risk of COVID exposure to critical workers, their proximity to the vulnerable, a higher risk of the virus spreading in their workplace and the need to protect access to essential goods and services.
“This is a sensible extension of our existing vaccination requirements – ensuring our critical workers and the vulnerable community members they look after are protected,” said Minister for Health Martin Foley.
Of course, all Victorians are encouraged to get a third dose as soon as they are eligible.
Further COVID restrictions introduced
From 11:59pm on Wednesday January 12, indoor dancefloors in hospitality and entertainment venues must close. Venues can still operate, and there are no changes to the density settings in place.
Indoor dancefloors at weddings will still be permitted, however, wedding hosts should consider moving them outdoors if possible.
If you can work from home, you should work from home.
If you’re attending a hospitality or entertainment venue, you should opt for seated service, and if possible, take a rapid antigen test before attending.
Visitors to aged care centres must return a negative RAT result before returning. Residents at aged care centres may have five visitors a day if they provide a negative RAT result. However, if no RATs are available, residents may have no more than two visitors.
Visitors in hospitals must have two doses of the vaccine, or provide a negative RAT result before entering. Adult visitors who aren’t fully vaccinated must wear an N95 mask. Standard face masks will be mandated for children aged 8 and above.
Workers in manufacturing, distribution or packaging of food and beverages, and retail supermarket workers may be exempted from close contact isolation requirements in order to attend work. This decision was made to ensure Victorians have access to essential food supplies.
Exempted workers must be asymptomatic, take RATs daily for five days, and return a negative result prior to attending work. They can’t enter shared break areas, and must wear face coverings. Both the worker and the workplace must consent to this arrangement.
To read the Premier’s statement about these COVID restrictions, click here.Book a booster vaccine appointment here.