East Gippsland to be involved in ‘opening up’ trial?

Businesses and community organisations in East Gippsland Shire Council could be selected to participate in Victorian government trials to test systems and supports to help the state to open progressively as a vaccinated economy.

Businesses and community organisations in East Gippsland Shire could be selected to participate in Victorian government trials to test systems and supports to help the state to open progressively as a vaccinated economy.

Up to 20 vaccinated economy regional trials will be carried out next month and Eastern Victoria MLC Jane Garrett confirmed on Sunday that some could involve East Gippsland businesses and events.

It is anticipated that the trials, scheduled to begin October 11, 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 on site confirmed as being fully vaccinated.

Victoria is expected to reach 70 per cent full vaccination on October 26, when many greater freedoms are linked to vaccination.

Regional areas with high vaccination rates and low or no COVID-19 cases are being considered for the trials, including East Gippsland Shire.

On September 25, East Gippsland Shire had a double-dose vaccination rate of 59.27 per cent and a single dose rate of 83.85 per cent – against state averages of 46 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.

Ms Garrett said regional communities would play a critical role in delivering Victoria’s roadmap to reopening through these vaccine certificate trials, and it was “fantastic that East Gippsland stands to be involved”.

“These trials will support businesses and community organisations to open with the appropriate systems in place as we move toward a vaccinated economy and more freedoms,” she said.

“It means that Victorians can get back to enjoying being part of their community in greater numbers.

“It’s a win all round.”

The other council areas invited to take part are Bass Coast, Warrnambool, Greater Bendigo, Pyrenees and Buloke.

The government will work with local councils and industry bodies to help identify suitable businesses and events for the trials.

It says the trials will confirm the best processes for establishing vaccination status, with work underway on how Commonwealth vaccination data can be best integrated with the Service Victoria app.

Training for staff, supports for business owners and public communication of vaccine requirements will also be part of the trials.

Support officers will be in place on the ground to ensure trials run smoothly and participating businesses receive the assistance they need.

Victoria’s roadmap to deliver the national plan plots progressively greater patron numbers in many settings including outdoor gatherings, funerals, weddings, religious gatherings and entertainment and hospitality venues as the state reaches 70 per cent, and then 80 per cent vaccination – where all patrons must be fully vaccinated.

In regional cafes and restaurants the patron cap will increase from 10 people to 30 people for indoor spaces, and to 100 people for outdoor spaces, at 70 per cent vaccination, on the basis that all patrons are vaccinated.

Without confirmation of vaccination status, there is no change to existing settings.

For more information on Victoria’s roadmap to reopening, visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au