Mask rules to be relaxed

THE requirement to wear masks indoors will be eased from 11.59pm Thursday night.

Restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne will be brought into line with regional Victoria, which means all COVID-safe settings will apply statewide.

Masks will continue to be required in indoor, public-facing settings unless an exemption applies, but they will no longer be required at schools for students and staff, or at a workplace if people don’t interact with the public (for example, in an office or a factory).

A range of venues across Melbourne will now be able to apply the same density limits that apply in regional Victoria: one person per two square metres – including hospitality, gyms and physical recreation venues, community facilities, creative studios and places of worship – provided a COVID check-in marshal is on-site to make sure people are checking in.

Dancefloors will be allowed with a COVID check-in marshal, but no more than 50 people can be on the dance floor at any one time.

The limit on private gatherings will stay the same, with up to 15 people able to attend a home per day.

Crowd numbers will increase at approved public events.

Outdoor stadiums can welcome 75 per cent of their capacity, up to 40,000 people, and indoor stadiums can open to 75 per cent of their capacity, up to 7500 people. Theatres will also open to 75 per cent of their capacity, up to 2000 people.

These settings will be in place for 14 days, subject to assessment of epidemiological risks by our public health teams.

Comprehensive information will be found at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au when new settings are in effect.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the slower than forecast rollout of the vaccination program, reduction in returning traveller caps not yet in effect across the country and outbreaks interstate led to public health experts advising for restrictions to be eased carefully and cautiously.

“We’re seeing across the country just how fast-moving the Delta strain is – which is why we need to remain vigilant and follow the directions to protect the gains we’ve made,” he said.