Victoria makes masks mandatory indoors once again as state records 2,005 COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths
Masks will be mandatory indoors in Victoria from 11:59pm tonight for people aged eight and over as the state ramps up its response to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, as announced in a press conference today.
The rule applies to all indoor settings except private homes.
Acting Premier James Merlino said masks would also be required when people were moving around at major events of more than 30,000 people, but not when they were seated outdoors.
Mr Merlino said Victoria was in one of the “strongest” positions in the world to combat the new variant due to its high vaccination rate.
“From 11:59pm tonight, the following additional measures will apply in Victoria… face masks will be required in all indoor settings, except private homes, for persons eight and over,” Merlino said.
“Face masks will also be required at all major events over 30,000 people. Again, to be clear, face masks will be required indoors and outdoors when moving around, although masks can be removed when seated outdoors.”
The mask mandate comes just days before Christmas after the recent spike in COVID cases and will see cricket fans needing a mask when walking around the MCG at the Boxing Day Test.
Merlino also said there was a “need to be smart” to make sure the health system was not overwhelmed, revealing the government weren’t considering any lockdowns for the holiday period.
“Because Victorians went out and got vaccinated in record numbers, it means that we are not considering going into lockdown and this is the commitment that we gave to the people of Victoria.”
“The promise was if you go and get vaccinated, you can enjoy Christmas and New Year with your families and loved ones and that’s exactly what will happen.”
He said the Victorian government would also inject more than $31 million to support the rollout of the COVID-19 booster which will see state-run vaccination centres will be expanded, new workers will be trained, and temporary sites will be set up in shopping centres.
“As part of the plan to combat Omicron, today I’m announcing that we are investing in a major boost to support the third-dose rollout, including more than $31 million to support the Commonwealth’s program, while we await ATAGI advice on dose intervals,” Mr Merlino says.
“The interval needs to be shortened and the interval needs to be shortened immediately. That’s the view of Victoria. That’s the view of New South Wales. That’s the view of jurisdictions across the country.”
Health Minister Martin Foley says there will be 28 more pop-up vaccination sites in coming weeks, and the fixed sites will run 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Find out more here.