COVID-19 Victorian Situation

Latest update March 31, 2021 

From 6 pm Friday March 26, the COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria were eased further:  

  • The cap on the percentage of workers who can return to the workplace has been lifted. All workplaces must continue to have a COVIDSafe Plan in place, however, and observe the new density limits 
  • the new density limits are 2 square metres per person
  • A face mask must be carried at all times. Masks are no longer required in retail settings, but are still mandatory in the following situations: 

    • on public transport, in commercial passenger vehicles such as taxis and ride share vehicles, and in tour vehicles
    • by visitors to a hospital
    • by visitors at a care facility (while indoors)
    • on flights to and from Victoria and at airports
    • if a person is diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19, or a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, when leaving their home or accommodation for a permitted reason, such as medical care or to get tested
    • while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test when leaving their home or accommodation for a permitted reason, such as medical care (except as part of a surveillance or other asymptomatic testing program)
    • while experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Victorians are allowed up to one hundred (100) visitors to the home per day;
  • Up to 200 people are allowed at public gatherings.
  • Restaurants, and other venues etc must continue to have a QR code or manual system in place; many other public places have now implemented systems.
  • No limits to weddings, funerals, religious gatherings - but the 2 square metre rule applies.

For more information, go to Victoria's restriction levels. which will be updated. In the meantime, a document detailing the COVID Settings [pdf].  

The latest numbers: the total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Victoria is 20,484 - there have been no more new cases this week. However with the state about to recommence its acceptance of people returning from overseas, plus Victorians returning from Queensland, it is likely that there will be more active cases in the coming weeks. The state’s death toll stands at 820. There have been no new locally acquired cases for at least a month. For up to date stats, go to the COVID Live website. 

Businesses 

All open businesses 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 new page.

As of Wednesday March 31, Victoria’s hospital immunisation hubs had administered 99,065 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in support of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Victoria is well on track to meet the target of vaccinating 40,000 individuals in the first four weeks of the program. View the latest data on COVID-19 vaccinations.

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.