COVID-19 Victorian Situation

Latest update October 18, 2021 

Last week we hoped we'd reached the peak, only to see a further surge:

  • October 13: 1,572
  • October 14: 2,297
  • October 15: 2,179
  • October 16: 1,993
  • October 17: 1,838
  • October 18: 1,903

Unfortunately we cannot know whether we have reached the peak and can expect numbers to go down. 

Nevertheless, with the level of vaccinations for those 16 and over in Victoria about to reach 70 per cent fully vaccinated, and 90 per cent receiving the first dosse, the government announced on the weekend that we will be coming out of lockdown. The first lot of changes, in line with the 'Roadmap' will come into effect at 11.59pm this coming Thursday October 21.  

The changes:

  1. Isolation for contacts:
    • non-household primary close contacts (PCCs) who are fully vaccinated will only need to quarantine for 7 days.
    • this will also apply to industry, where all workplace primary close contacts will be required to isolate for 7 days if they are fully vaccinated.

      PCCs required to isolate for 7 days will need to return negative test results on both day 1 and day 6 of their quarantine.

    • Household and unvaccinated PCCs will still be required to isolate for 14 days.
  2. Up to 10 people (including dependents) per day will be able to visit homes in both regional and metropolitan Melbourne. Note: it is highly recommended that Victorians only permit people aged 12 years and over who are fully vaccinated to visit them at home.
  3. The Melbourne curfew and 15km travel radius will be lifted. However, movement between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne will only be allowed for permitted reasons.
  4. People in metropolitan Melbourne must continue to work from home if they can. Anyone on the authorised workers list is required to have had at least one dose of the vaccine in order to work on site.
  5. Large scale construction sites will increase to 100 percent capacity but only if all workers are fully vaccinated.
  6. Most outdoor settings – outdoor cafes, cinemas, and physical recreation facilities like pools – will open with up to 50 people per venue but are subject to density limits and only for those fully vaccinated.
  7. Indoor settings like restaurants and cafes will be able to reopen with up to 20 people indoors with density limits, and only if all attendees – including workers – are fully vaccinated.
  8. Childcare will be open to children who are already attending, as well as children whose parents or guardians are fully vaccinated. The return to school plan has been brought forward, with the start of the staggered return of Grade 3 to Year 11 in metro Melbourne commencing on Friday 22 October.

Masks will still be required both indoors and outdoors for all Victorians. (NB: Face masks do not need to be worn indoors or outdoors if you are working alone unless another person enters that indoor or outdoor space)

Until then the restrictions in place for Melbourne and the Mildura City Council:  

  • People cannot leave their homes other than for one of the six following reasons:

    • shopping for necessary goods and services
    • caregiving or compassionate reasons, including medical care or to get a COVID-19 test
    • authorised work or permitted education
    • exercise - once a day for up to 4 hours, and that 4 hours includes any time spent outdoors socialising in limited groups (up to five fully vaccinated people from two households, or two only if not vaccinated)
    • outdoor social interaction in limited groups - once a day for up to 4 hours, and that 4 hours includes any time spent on exercise
    • to get a COVID-19 vaccination


  • it is permitted to leave home to visit an intimate partner, a single social bubble buddy, or in an emergency – including those at risk of family violence  
  • We can travel up to 15 km from our homes 
  • Workers who can work from home, must work from home - and the need to have a work permit if someone must go to work has been re-introduced 
  • Playgrounds are open to children of all ages. There are no limits to number of adults accompanying them; social gathering limits apply. Adults can remove their mask to eat or drink, but it is no longer be allowed to remove a mask to consume alcohol outdoors 
  • Outdoor skateparks and communal gym equipment are open 
  • Construction projects reopened this week, but are currently restricted to 25 per cent of their workforce 
  • Some essential industries are also having the numbers/percentage of workers on site reduced 
  • Mobile pet grooming only is allowed 
  • Religious broadcasts will be limited to five people
  • The general rule of remaining within 15 km of their homes for shopping or exercise remains. This does not apply to permitted work or education, when giving or receiving care, getting a COVID-19 vaccination or visiting an intimate partner or single social bubble buddy  
  • Schools are closed with students doing remote learning (except for children of essential workers). However, exams are to begin this week and students must be at least partially vaccinated to attend. The government has been running large scale testing of students 
  • Cafes and restaurants can only offer takeaway 
  • Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors whenever leaving home

    Face masks do not need to be worn indoors or outdoors if you are working alone unless another person enters that indoor or outdoor space

  • Checking in using QR codes remains mandatory - including for all workplaces, with limited exceptions. If someone is unable to check in with a QR code, their details must be recorded at a specially set up 'kiosk' at the place
  • For Melbourne: a curfew is in force from 9.00pm to 5.00am each day.

These restrictions will remain in place until 11.59pm October 21. 

For more details on the current COVIDSafe Settings, go to this page. The number of public exposure sites is currently almost 600 and so it is crucial to check these on this page and take the action required. 

Cases - October 18

The latest numbers: the total number of COVID-19 active cases is 22,327. Of these, 851 are in hospital, 155 in ICU - 103 on ventilators.  There were 1,903 cases announced today. The state’s death toll has now reached 970 - 57 more since October 12.  For up to date stats, go to the COVID Live website. 

If you have any symptoms at all:

  • get tested immediately - do not wait! If you think you've been at an exposure site, do not wait for symptoms, just get tested. It appears that too many are not getting tested quickly enough, meaning they are spending time in the community, spreading the infection.
  • do not go to work.

Businesses 

All businesses which are operating in any way must have a COVIDSafe Plan in place. The plan focuses on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace. Details on creating a COVID Safe workplace are available here.

The COVID Safe Plan must set out:  

  • The employer's actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace 
  • The level of face-covering or personal protective equipment (PPE) required in your workplace 
  • How the employer will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace 
  • How the employer will meet all of the requirements set out by the Victorian Government. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional requirements of employers and employees.   

More information can be found on this section of the Business Victoria website. There is a template available which can be utilised.

More information here.

Victoria's vaccine program - go to this page.

Recent developments:

  • According to the ABC Vaccine tracker as of October 18, 66.73 per cent of Victorians are fully vaccinated, and 88.45 per cent partially vaccinated 
  • the Victorian government has now announced that all authorised workers will need to be vaccinated. "On the advice of our public health team, all workers – in Melbourne and regional Victoria – on the Authorised Worker list will require their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by Friday, 15 October in order to continue working onsite. They will need to be fully vaccinated by 26 November." Read more: Victorian government media release
  • The Victorian state government has set up vaccination hubs in LGAs with high numbers of infections (mainly in the northern and western suburbs) and is prioritising certain workers. 
  • The Pfizer is now the preferred vaccine for anyone under 60 years of age - however anyone over the age of 18 may request an AstraZeneca vaccine with informed consent.
  • any Victorian over the age of 60 became eligible to book in to receive the first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine,, with the government opening new vaccination sites
  • Appointments for vaccinations are now open to anyone over the age of 16. 
  • The TGA has granted provisional approval to the Moderna vaccine, and supplies are now available in pharmacies and doctors' surgeries 
  • Parents can now book appointments for children between the ages of 12 and 16 

Advice to HSRs - Consultation 

As noted above, all businesses which are operating in metropolitan Melbourne must have a COVIDSafe or a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan in place.  Remember, your employer has a duty to consult with HSRs under s35 of the Act, including when developing and implementing the COVIDSafe plan. HSRs should also be consulted by the employer on the nomination of workers to be invited to register for a vaccine. Contact your union or the OHS Team at Trades Hall if you have any questions. WorkSafe has recently released a new video on Consultation - specifically in relation to making workplaces COVID-safe. 

More information

WorkSafe Victoria has a page of information specifically for employees which is regularly updated and has links to relevant DHHS information.