All You Need to Know About Victoria's Current Restrictions
All You need to know about victoria's current restrictions
From Thursday 14 April 2022 Queensland will scrap COVID-19 rules which require people to check-in and disclose their vaccination status to enter key venues. Despite the Queensland Government easing restrictions, the Victorian Government has decided to continue to enforce its existing COVID-19 requirements.
Current restrictions in Victoria
The Pandemic Orders may only be renewed if the Premier exercises his power to make a further Pandemic Declaration under s 165AE Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
At present, the following Pandemic Orders are effective in Victoria until 12 July 2022.
- COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (General Workers) Order (No.3);
- COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Workers) Order (No.6);
- COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Order (No.7);
- Movement and Gathering Order (No.5);
- Open Premises Order (No.6);
- Additional Industry Obligations Order (No.10);
- Detention Order (No.4);
- Hospital and Care Facilities Order (No.5);
- Quarantine Isolation and Testing Order (No.7);
- Victorian Border Crossing Order (No.7);
- Workplace Order (No.7).
What does this mean for Victorians? It means that the Victorian Government requires public venues, such as restaurants, libraries, and athletic stadiums, to verify people’s vaccination status and continue to exclude those who remain unvaccinated. It also means that Pandemic Orders requiring workers to be vaccinated, and businesses and organisations with established policies to enforce vaccination for employees and/or clients will continue.
Mask requirements remain mandatory for those aged eight years and above, and must be worn when:
- on public transport, in taxis and rideshare, on planes, and indoors at an airport
- working or visiting hospitals, and indoor areas at care facilities
- working in hospitality, retail and the courts
- working at justice and correctional facilities
- for students in year 3 or above at primary school, and workers at early childhood centres and primary schools (masks can be removed in secondary school)
- working indoors at an event with more than 30,000 people attending
- if you have COVID-19 or are a close contact and you’re leaving home
Victorians will continue to be fined for breaches of these ‘health and safety’ requirements.
Many Victorians are currently stood down and risk termination due to the Minister for Health’s Pandemic Orders and prescribed vaccine mandates. This is not only distressing for employees who risk losing their livelihood but has a wider impact on the state through the promotion of a two-tiered society that threatens and undermines the promotion of inclusivity and cohesion of our community, whilst also negatively impacting the Victorian economy. This highlights that the consequences of the Premier’s ‘vaccinated economy’, supported by the Minister for Health’s Pandemic Orders, negatively impact both vaccinated and unvaccinated.
By way of example, on Monday 11 April 2022, a 72-year-old man died while waiting in an ambulance for almost four hours outside the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service in East Gippsland. In response to this, the Daniel Andrews blamed staff shortages for ‘causing massive strain’ on the state’s health system.
But what contributed to these staff shortages? The COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Order (No.7)requires all health care workers to have received 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccination. Many are refusing, opting to not be vaccinated and remain stood down.
Not only does the vaccination status of an employee not impact the competency to fulfill their role, but there are also reasonable alternatives such as Rapid Antigen Test which can be used to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 infection.
It is short-sighted and ignorant of the Premier to continue to focus solely on vaccination as a method to manage Victoria’s pandemic response, particularly when the staff shortages are a result of the vaccination requirements now inherent to the employment of health care workers and Victorians are dying because of those shortages.
When will the restrictions come to an end?
On Thursday 14 April 2022 there were two newspaper articles – one in The Age and the other in The Herald Sun – criticising the ‘vaccinated economy’, with experts claiming on-going vaccine mandates could not possibly be rooted in any science and should be removed. This is quite a damning response from public health experts, and one which is difficult for the Premier, Health Minister and public health officials to ignore. It was also suggested in The Age that the Pandemic Declaration, set to end on July 12, will not be further extended.
It is important to keep in mind that the Victorian state election will be held on 26 November 2022, which is likely to have significant influence on the Premier and Health Minister’s decision to lift the mandates and not renew the Pandemic Declaration come July, which would see all pandemic associated rules and restrictions lifted.
Let’s remember – the biggest impact on government decisions is public pressure, and even more so with a looming election.
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