Vaccine passports to be trialled across regional Victoria this October 
27.09.2021

Vaccine passports to be trialled across regional Victoria this October 

Warrnambool

Six regional Victorian LGAs will host vaccine passport trials from October 11 as the state edges closer to its 70 per cent double dose target.

The Victorian Government is set to conduct vaccine passport trials in businesses and events across highly vaccinated parts of regional Victoria to help the state open progressively as a vaccinated economy when Victoria meets the key double-dose thresholds in the Roadmap, as outlined by Victorian Premier last week.

The trials intend to test how to enforce rules that will enable double-dosed patrons to take part in a “vaccinated economy” and how to help businesses safely deal with aggressive customers who are denied service, beginning across some regional Victorian businesses and events from October 11, in areas with high vaccinations and low virus such as Bass Coast, Greater Bendigo, Pyrenees, Warrnambool, Buloke and East Gippsland.

The key takeaways

  • The Victorian Government will conduct trials in businesses and events across highly vaccinated parts of regional Victoria
  •  The trials will begin within a fortnight of the state hitting the 70 per cent double dose mark.
  • There will be up to 20 sites as part of the program across regional Victoria where there is low COVID transmission.

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Scheduled to start from 11 October (timed for a fortnight before Victoria is expected to reach the 70 per cent full vaccination mark, around October 26), it is anticipated 20 trial sites will cover hospitality, hairdressing, beauty services and tourism businesses, and events such as race meetings, community celebrations and concerts – allowing higher patron numbers with all attendees confirmed as being fully vaccinated. The government says it will work with local councils and industry bodies to help identify suitable businesses and events.

As part of the new program, designated venues will operate under the same restriction setting that the rest of the state will be subject to at the 70 per cent double dose target.

Training for staff, supports for business owners and public communication of vaccine requirements will also be part of the trials. Support officers will be deployed on the ground to ensure trials run smoothly and participating businesses receive the assistance they need.

Workers will have to enforce the rules and Premier Daniel Andrews said it was “critically important” that businesses appoint someone qualified to oversee the operation.

“It is in everybody’s interests, particularly business, to take this seriously,” Andrews said.

“These trials are about proving up, and in real terms, seeing where some of these issues might be.

“If we were completely certain that it would all be totally smooth, then we wouldn’t do the trials.”

Pending the outcomes of the first phase, a second phase of trials using 80 per cent double dose settings will be held, prior to Victoria achieving that threshold. The progress of these trials will be subject to health advice and ensuring the safety of regional communities from any potential COVID-19 infections. These trials will be used to hold larger events in metropolitan Melbourne to test the systems and technologies with larger crowd sizes.

In Australia, people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can access a digital certificate through the MyGov website, which lists their name, age and what type of vaccination they have received, however there have been reports of a growing market of forged COVID-19 vaccination certificates on social media to avoid getting the jab entirely.

Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said they would be looking at how best to establish someone’s vaccination status as part of these trials, which could include Medicare Online, the Express Plus Medicare app, or hard copies of vaccination certificates obtained through Services Australia.

The Minister for Government Services Danny Pearson said they were working with the Commonwealth government to make sure the technology and systems that would underpin the vaccinated economy was effective and easy to use.

“The Service Victoria app will be the most convenient way for most people to prove their vaccination status and participate fully in the community,” he said.

Meanwhile, Victorians will enjoy a “modest” easing of restrictions on Wednesday when the state is expected to pass 80 per cent single dose coverage. Restrictions, including a return to golf and tennis, will ease slightly and residents of locked-down areas will be able to travel 15km from home, up from 10km.

In regional cafes and restaurants, the patron cap increases to 30 people for indoor spaces and 100 people for outdoor spaces once Victoria reaches the 70 per cent double dose vaccination – on the basis that all patrons and staff are fully vaccinated. Without confirmation of vaccination status, there is no change to existing settings.

There was also good news for the city of Geelong, which was released from lockdown at midnight Sunday, despite the diagnosis of six new cases on Saturday, all of which were linked.

Victoria has confirmed another 705 local COVID-19 cases and one death on Monday morning. The new infections bring the number of active cases in the state to 8538. There were 51,252 coronavirus tests processed and 51,252 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Sunday.

Read more about the Vaccine Passport trials here