Advertisement

Staying informed is more important than ever as the situation unfolds with Covid-19. Stay tuned here for our live updates, and be sure to let us know what your business is doing to face this unprecedented challenge.


Covid-19 News Updates


Victoria opens up pathway for stranded residents to return home

Victoria opens up pathway for stranded residents to return home

Victorians stranded in ‘extreme risk’ zones in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory will soon have a pathway to return home, with the State Government today announcing an alteration to border crossing rules.

From 30 September, Victorians in ‘extreme risk’ zones, which includes Sydney, a number of regional hubs in NSW and Canberra, will be permitted to return home if they fit certain criteria.

They can only return if they have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and can display a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to leaving the ‘extreme risk’ zone.

Returnees will still have to complete 14 days of quarantine on arrival in Victoria, however they will be allowed to do that at home.

If those returning to Victoria have no safe place to quarantine on arrival, the state government will make arrangements to house them for the duration of the two weeks.

Unlike the home quarantine systems being trialed in New South Wales and South Australia, the two weeks will not be monitored by technology.

“We don’t think we need to do that,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“We think, however, given the number of cases that are here and the number of cases that are in New South Wales, the growing vaccination numbers and our proximity if you like to those double dose thresholds that this is proportionate and the right thing to do.

“That’s a big step forward. This has been a real inconvenience and a real challenge for those people and their families.”

The current ‘extreme risk’ zone rules will remain for Victorians who aren’t fully vaccinated, meaning they can still apply for an exemption to enter the state under the existing limited criteria.

The changes come as Victoria reported a new daily record for locally acquired COVID-19 infections today, with 766 new cases confirmed today and four deaths.

Updated at 11.53am AEST on 23 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

Glen Innes and Orange to leave lockdown tonight

Glen Innes and Orange to leave lockdown tonight

As of midnight tonight, stay-at-home orders for Glen Innes and Orange will be lifted, but the local government area (LGA) of Hilltops will remain under lockdown conditions for a further week from tomorrow.

While residents of the two LGAs will be free to leave their homes, they will be subject to some restrictions to ensure community safety.

Meanwhile, due to ongoing community transmission of COVID-19 in Hilltops, which includes the town of Young, the LGA’s lockdown will last until Friday 1 October.

“We need all people throughout NSW to continue to come forward for testing at the first sign of even mild symptoms,” NSW Health said.

"High vaccination rates are also essential to reduce the risk of transmission and protect the health and safety of the community.”

The changes to rules in regional New South Wales comes one day after stay-at-home orders lifted in Albury and Lismore, and two days after Byron, Tweed and Kempsey went back into lockdown.

Updated at 2.15pm AEST on 23 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

Lockdown to lift tonight for Albury and Lismore

Lockdown to lift tonight for Albury and Lismore

Stay-at-home orders introduced last week for the New South Wales local government areas (LGAs) of Albury and Lismore will no longer apply from midnight tonight.

However, the two LGAs will remain under some restrictions in order to ensure community safety, according to NSW Health.

“We thank the communities of Albury and Lismore for their co-operation and for coming forward for testing in large numbers,” NSW Health said.

“We need all people throughout NSW to continue to come forward for testing at the first sign of even mild symptoms. High vaccination rates are also essential to reduce the risk of transmission and protect the health and safety of the community.”

The easing of restrictions comes one day after Byron, Tweed and Kempsey went back into lockdown after COVID-19 cases were detected in the region.

Updated at 4.58pm AEST on 22 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

Byron, Tweed and Kempsey to go back into lockdown

Byron, Tweed and Kempsey to go back into lockdown

The northern New South Wales local government areas (LGAs) of Byron Shire, Tweed and Kempsey will go back into lockdown for one week from 5pm today after COVID-19 cases were detected in the region.

The lockdown will be implemented due to the heightened COVID-19 public health risk according to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

The stay-at-home orders also apply to anyone who has been in Kempsey since 14 September, or Byron or Tweed since 18 September.

Everyone in the affected LGAs must stay at home unless it is for an essential reason, which includes shopping for food, medical care, getting vaccinated, compassionate needs, exercise and work or tertiary education if you can’t work or study at home.

People who are fully vaccinated can attend an outdoor gathering of up to five people for exercise or outdoor recreation, as long as all of those aged 16 or older are fully vaccinated.

“I encourage everybody in those areas to take this very seriously,” Hazzard said.

“So far those areas have been kept relatively safe, but we need the community to keep getting tested so that the public health team can be very certain of what we need to do at the expiration of those seven days.”

The order comes after NSW reported 1,022 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases today and 10 deaths, with most of the new cases being detected in Sydney’s west and south-west.

Updated at 11.24am AEST on 21 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

Melbourne’s construction industry shut down for two weeks

Melbourne’s construction industry shut down for two weeks

Rising COVID-19 case numbers in Victoria's construction sector has led to a shutdown of the entire industry for two weeks in metropolitan Melbourne and other local government areas (LGAs) currently in lockdown.

The change, announced overnight, comes after violent protests erupted at the industry’s main trade union office in Melbourne yesterday where multiple people were arrested.

In a statement issued by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas, the industry shutdown is aimed at the movement of the highly mobile workforce.

In addition, the Government is concerned about the sector’s compliance with public health measures and directions.

"We’ve been clear: if you don't follow the rules, we won't hesitate to take action – we have seen widespread non-compliance across the industry and that’s why we're taking necessary steps to protect every single Victorian,” Pallas said.

“We put the industry on notice just a week ago, we have seen appalling behaviour on site and on our streets, and now we're acting decisively and without hesitation.”

The total shutdown came into effect at midnight last night and is expected to last until 4 October.

All construction projects in metropolitan Melbourne, City of Ballarat, City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire will be closed, with a strictly limited exemption for workers to attend the sites to respond to an emergency or perform urgent and essential work to protect health and safety.

An amnesty will be put in place so that a limited number of workers can attend construction sites in order to shut them down safely.

All government construction projects in metropolitan Melbourne and the relevant LGAs will be closed, with no new work to be completed other than work required to make the site safe and secure.

All sites will be required to demonstrate compliance with Chief Health Officer directions prior to reopening, including the requirement for workers to show evidence to their employer of having had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before they return to site on 5 October.

From 11.59pm 23 September, all construction workers require at least their first dose of the vaccine.

CFMEU reacts to protests

The complete shutdown of the construction industry follows a violent protest at the sector’s main trade union office in Melbourne, with demonstrators clashing over the government’s decision to make vaccines mandatory for the construction workers.

In response to the violence, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) condemned the protests, saying the crowd was inflamed by far-right extremists.

“The CFMMEU condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on the CFMEU Victorian Branch office and the mindless acts of violence perpetrated by members of the mob,” the CFMEU said.

“This crowd was heavily infiltrated by neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremist groups and it is clear that a minority of those who participated were actual union members.

“We thank the officials, delegates and rank-and-file members of the union who came to protect their office and their officials, and note that a number of people received minor injuries from acts of violence including the throwing of bottles.”

The union said it would continue to defend its members’ rights to work safely across Australia and would not be intimidated by far-right extremism.

“These are not actions of people who care about their workmates and the construction industry,” the CFMEU said.

“They are the actions of extremists or people manipulated by extremists.”

Updated at 9.24am AEST on 21 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

WestInvest a "$5 billion shot in the arm" for Western Sydney

WestInvest a "$5 billion shot in the arm" for Western Sydney

After selling its remaining stake in WestConnex for $11.1 billion, the New South Wales Government will put profits from the road project into a new fund aimed at revitalising Western Sydney.

The state government has today announced the $5 billion WestInvest Fund for building new and improved facilities and local infrastructure to help communities hit hard by COVID-19.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new WestInvest Fund would focus on projects that make a real difference to quality of life, help create jobs in the process, and change the face of Western Sydney for the better. 

“The future of Western Sydney is bright and this announcement is a major first step along the road to recovery after a challenging year," the Premier said.

"This is about helping to rejuvenate local communities with improved parks, better open spaces, giving town centres a boost and providing opportunities to grow."

The government will put $2 billion from the fund towards high priority projects to be developed in consultation with local communities, while $3 billion will be for future projects in six areas:

  • Parks, urban spaces and green space;
  • Enhancing community infrastructure such as local sporting grounds;
  • Modernising local schools;
  • Creating and enhancing arts and cultural facilities;
  • Revitalising high-streets; and
  • Clearing local traffic. 

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the state had received a total of $20.4 billion from the WestConnex project, following an investment of $16.8 billion, giving "headroom" for the WestInvest Fund to straight back to the people of Western Sydney.

"We know that it has been a very difficult time for Western Sydney, particularly over the last three months. Today, there are five billion reasons as to why things are going to get a whole lot better," the Treasurer said.

"This isn't just an investment in places. Above all it is an investment in our people. We want Western Sydney to be the very best."

Minister for Jobs, Investment and Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the funding injection would be a game-changer and a catalyst for growth. 

"We've been asking people right across Western Sydney to go and get a shot in the arm to help our communities recover from COVID, to reopen our homes, our businesses, reopen our communities to the world," Minister Ayres said.

"Today the New South Wales Government is delivering Western Sydney a $5 billion shot in the arm. This is exactly what Western Sydney needs as it bounces back from the impacts of COVID.

"There’s no doubt that Western Sydney’s been at the forefront of our fight against this insidious virus. It’s impacted our communities more than any other community."

NSW reported 935 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 today, as well as four deaths from the virus.

It was also announced the regional local government area (LGA) of Cowra would be going into a lockdown effective from 5pm today.

"Anyone who was in Cowra from the 13th of September, regardless of where they are, must adhere to the stay-at-home requirements," Chief Health Minister Dr Kerry Chant said.

"There was a nine-year-old boy who attended school in Cowra and there were a number of associated community exposures."

Updated at 12:33pm AEST on 20 September 2021

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


Record daily cases and Geelong in lockdown after Victoria unveils freedom roadmap

Record daily cases and Geelong in lockdown after Victoria unveils freedom roadmap

Victoria has hit a new daily case record from the latest COVID-19 outbreak, with 567 infections acquired locally today after the three local government areas (LGAs) of Geelong, Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire went into lockdown overnight.

However, lockdown-weary Victorians have something to look forward to now after a roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions was delivered yesterday, detailing what life will look like once key vaccination targets are hit.

Based on expert modelling from the Burnet Institute, the roadmap is set against COVID-19 thresholds including hospitalisation rates and is subject to public health advice and health system capacity.

Over four different stages Victoria will gradually reopen, but many venues will only accept attendees that have received the vaccine.

In addition, once certain targets are hit for double-dose vaccination, public and private gatherings will be able to accommodate more people, with Premier Daniel Andrews hoping up to 30 people will be able to gather by Christmas.

“While we’re no longer aiming for COVID zero, it’s imperative we don’t jeopardise our health system as we open up – too many Victorians rely on it every day,” Andrews said.

“The COVID-19 thresholds detailed in the Roadmap will be important measures to maintain as we move through the different stages in order to safeguard the health system. There will be a “guard rail” system in place, which will allow our public health team to adjust restrictions if hospital admissions become too high.”

Andrews also said the roadmap details there will be a time at which unvaccinated Victorians will be “left behind”, but for those that do get the jab it is expected that more freedoms will be available come Summer.

“As we’ve flagged before, there will come a time when Victorians who choose not to get vaccinated will be left behind – that time has now been firmly set in the Roadmap,” Andrews said.

“When Victoria reaches 70 per cent double dose vaccination, changes will include an increase in numbers for public gatherings outdoors, funerals, weddings and religious gatherings – with larger caps for people who are fully vaccinated.”

The four stages of Victoria’s roadmap to freedom

Phase A: 80 per cent single dose

Once Victoria hits 80 per cent of its eligible population having received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine people will be able to get outside to catch-up with friends.

The state expects this to occur on 26 September 2021, and will also allow for regional Victoria to leave lockdown.

In metropolitan Melbourne:

  • You can play basketball, golf, tennis, cricket and other outdoor recreation activities together - with the same limits as picnics. Accessing facility must be contactless,
  • Personal training resumes for up to five fully vaccinated people outside.

In regional Victoria:

  • Final years VCAL students can return to on-site learning,
  • Masks can be removed during beauty services by the client if the service requires it.
  • Schools in Melbourne are also planned to reopen on 5 October, with on-site learning for VCE Units 3/4 and final year VCAL and IB students to resume on 6 October.

Phase B: 70 per cent double dose

Once 70 per cent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, the lockdown in Melbourne will end. This is anticipated to occur around 26 October.

Once this happens, more social and recreational activities will open up for those who have been fully vaccinated.

Social and recreational

In metropolitan Melbourne:

  • Reasons to leave home and curfew no longer in place.
  • 10 fully vaccinated people can gather outdoors, community sport training returns for minimum required to hold training.
  • Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can open to 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors.

In regional Victoria:

  • Community sport returns indoors for minimum number required.
  • Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues are open indoors to 30 fully vaccinated people.

Education

In metropolitan Melbourne:

  • All school students return on-site at least part-time.

In regional Victoria:

  • All school students return onsite at least part-time.

Religious ceremonies

In metropolitan Melbourne:

  • Funerals are allowed for 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 50 fully vaccinated outdoors.
  • Weddings allowed for 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors.

In regional Victoria:

  • Funerals and weddings are allowed for 30 fully vaccinated people indoors and 100 fully vaccinated outdoors.

Hairdressing, personal care

In metropolitan Melbourne:

  • Open for up to 5 fully vaccinated people.

Phase C: 80 per cent fully vaccinated

At 80 per cent of the state’s eligible population fully vaccinated, regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne will come together under the same rules.

This is expected to occur around 5 November, and will see more people permitted to gather together at home, all retail will reopen, and fully-vaccinated workers can return to the office.

Social and recreational

  • Up to 10 people (including dependants) are permitted at your home.
  • Up to 150 fully vaccinated people can dine indoors, and up to 30 can gather in public outside.
  • Indoor community sport open for minimum number required.
  • Masks are only required inside.
  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes can open for seated service only, up to 150 fully vaccinated people inside and 500 outdoors.

Work

  • Work from home if you can, but you can go to work if fully vaccinated.

Education

  • Early childhood education and care is open.
  • All students return to school with additional safety measures in place.
  • On-site adult education returns for fully vaccinated Victorians.

Religious ceremonies

  • Weddings, funerals, and religious services return for 150 fully vaccinated people indoors, and 500 outdoors.

Hairdressing, beauty, personal care

  • Open for fully vaccinated people.

Retail

  • All retail open.

Phase D: 80 per cent double dose

Once 80 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated, expected to occur on 19 November, restrictions will align to the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response, as agreed to by National Cabinet.

At this stage, the state will permit 30 visitors to the home.

“We know how important getting to the end of the year and being able to celebrate Christmas will be for so many,” Andrews said.

“That’s why we are working towards having 30 visitors to the home by late December – and with travel across both interstate and international borders open again, many families will be able to reunite.”

Peak industry bodies have welcomed the Victorian Roadmap which gives businesses a glimmer of hope, but further clarity on certain issues has been requested.

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO Paul Zahra said whilst it’s pleasing that hairdressers and personal care services can reopen at 70 per cent double dose, other discretionary retail businesses face a longer wait, limiting their ability to trade in the lead up to the all-important Christmas period.

“Victorian businesses have been desperate for hope and certainty out of the ongoing Delta devastation, and whilst the roadmap details what life will look like after lockdown, it’s disappointing that most of discretionary retail faces a longer wait to reopen,” Zahra said.

“Discretionary retail has been the hardest hit throughout the pandemic. Many small retail businesses are on the brink of financial, emotional and mental health collapse. Sadly, they’ll be closed for at least another seven weeks, while other sections of the economy can open and trade at 70 per cent double dose.

“We appreciate the health and safety of the community needs to come first, but we can’t hide our concern for vulnerable retailers who will have been continuously closed for 13 weeks in total – which will sadly be unsustainable for some. In NSW, retail businesses, along with hospitality and hair and beauty services will reopen when 70 per cent of their population is fully vaccinated.”

Zahra also said he would welcome more detail about how proof of vaccination will work and be enforced, especially in retail settings.

“There’s some important details to be finalised with the Victorian Government around how proof of vaccination will work and will be enforced,” he said.

“Front-line retail staff have unfortunately been the victims of increased customer aggression as a result of the QR code and mask mandates, and while these instances are in the minority, asking for a customer’s vaccination history will certainly elevate this concern.

“It’s important that retailers have the backing of law enforcement agencies so they can manage the safe reopening of their businesses.”

The Property Council of Australia Victorian executive director Danni Hunter also welcomed the roadmap, labelling it “sensible” and “balanced”.

“After 230 days of lockdowns, Melbourne’s CBD has been devastated by the pandemic. Many businesses have closed, office occupancy and vacancies are at record high levels and the city is on life support. This plan balances the health challenge with the social and economic challenge and gives Victorians hope,” Hunter said.

“The plan to allow vaccinated workers to return to the office from November 5 is a welcome beacon of hope which will keep CBD business holding on, and within weeks we’ll be able to start to turn Melbourne from a ghost town into the world’s most liveable city once again.”

Geelong, Surf Coast & Mitchell Shire in seven-day lockdown

In addition to releasing the roadmap yesterday, the Victorian Government reimposed lockdown restrictions on the three LGAs of Geelong, Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire.

Commencing at 11.59pm last night, the restrictions are the same as those in Ballarat and metropolitan Melbourne, excluding the curfew.

The state’s health authorities are concerned about the large caseload in Greater Geelong and Mitchell Shire, with 17 and 15 active cases in these LGAs respectively as of 18 September.

“If you’re in Geelong, Surf Coast or Mitchell Shire, follow the restrictions, get tested if you have symptoms, and get vaccinated if you haven’t already. Regional communities have overcome outbreaks before – and this will be no different,” Premier Andrews said.

Updated at 10.08am AEST on 20 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

Two regional NSW LGAs sent back into lockdown

Two regional NSW LGAs sent back into lockdown

The regional New South Wales local government areas (LGAs) of Hilltops and Glen Innes will go back into lockdown tonight due to an increased COVID-19 public health risk.

The stay-at-home orders also apply to anyone who has been in the Hilltops LGA including Young and surrounding areas since 3 September, and the Glen Innes LGA since 13 September.

For both LGAs the seven-day stay-at-home order is to come into force from 6.00pm tonight.

Glen Innes' local MP and NSW Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall made the announcement on Facebook, and said the NSW Chief Health Officer recommended the restrictions come into place to protect the local community.

“I am very sorry and realise this was not the news many of you were wanting to hear, especially small business owners, and I fully appreciate the stress and strain this will place on you,” Marshall said.

“However, in response to the COVID case and the fact that the individual had been active in the community while infectious, the NSW Chief Health Officer convened an independent panel of medical experts to review all the information relevant to the case in Glen Innes.”

The rules for the lockdown will be the same as the regional LGA’s previous restrictions, which were lifted last Thursday.

At the time, the NSW Government said future lockdowns would be for a period of two weeks, but Marshall said in his statement that a panel of independent medical experts recommended just one week for Glen Innes Severn.

"As announced at the time lockdowns were lifted across our region recently, if a case appeared which was active in the community, that LGA would be placed into a 14-day lockdown. Only seven days has been recommended and agreed for the Glen Innes LGA based on the level of risk posed to the community,” Marshall said.

Everyone in the Hilltops and Glen Innes LGAs must stay at home unless it is for an essential reason, which includes shopping for food, medical care, getting vaccinated, compassionate needs, exercise and work or tertiary education if you can’t work or study at home. 

People who are fully vaccinated can attend an outdoor gathering of up to five people for exercise or outdoor recreation as long as all of those aged 16 or older are fully vaccinated.

Updated at 2.56pm AEST on 17 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

NSW to trial home quarantine program for overseas arrivals

NSW to trial home quarantine program for overseas arrivals

175 fully-vaccinated people will take part in a home quarantine trial in New South Wales that the State hopes will eventually replace the hotel quarantine system once vaccination rates globally rise.

The trial, which will begin at the end of September, will see 175 people quarantine in their homes for seven days instead of two weeks in a hotel on arrival from overseas.

According to the State’s Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the trial represents a step toward Australia being able to reopen its international borders.

“The New South Wales Government has already started work on planning our 80 per cent plan - what happens at 80 per cent double dose,” Berejiklian said.

“One of the things we expect to occur at 80 per cent double is to consider our international borders, that is coming back home through Sydney Airport, but also our citizens having the opportunity to go overseas when previously they weren’t able to.

“It’s really opening the door to what home quarantine will look like for us moving forward for this returning Australians who have got double dose vaccinations.”

Under the plan, which is based on evidence collated from South Australia’s similar home quarantine trial, the NSW Government will use an app on smartphones to ensure people are at home during the seven-day period.

The app will use face detection to enable police to check in on those that should be quarantined, which is the same model currently used in South Australia.

Further, the NSW Government will partner with Qantas to enable air crew and staff to be included in the home quarantine trial.

Participants in the pilot will have had both doses of a TGA-accredited COVID-19 vaccine and will be selected by NSW Health, based on a risk assessment framework, and may include some NSW residents and some non-Australian residents in addition to some Qantas air crew.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the pilot would help secure Australia’s safe reopening plan.

“This is the next step in our plan to safely reopen, and to stay safely open,” the Prime Minister said.

“NSW has carried the lion’s share of quarantining returning Australians and will be leading the way with this trial that could set the standard for the next phases of the way we live with COVID-19.

“This could mean more families and friends being able to reunite more quickly, more business being able to be done here, and more workers for key industries being able to fill critical jobs.”

NSW today reported 1,284 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths of people with the coronavirus.

Updated at 11.44am AEST on 17 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

City of Melbourne to consider introducing vaccine passport

City of Melbourne to consider introducing vaccine passport

City of Melbourne councillors will vote next week on the introduction of a vaccine passport to enable the safe reopening of hospitality, arts and entertainment venues in the Victorian capital.

The temporary scheme, which would allow vaccinated Melburnians to enter venues as soon as possible, would make the city one of the first municipalities in the state to go down the route of a vaccine passport.

“The City of Melbourne has been doing everything it can to get more Victorians vaccinated because it’s the path to reopening our city,” City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.

“The introduction of the proposed health pass would allow vaccinated and exempt Melburnians to enter participating restaurants, pubs, clubs and other venues. All staff at participating businesses will need to be vaccinated to be part of the scheme.”

The scheme would operate until vaccination levels are sufficient to lift health restrictions.

“Nowhere in Australia has been hit harder by devastating lockdowns than Melbourne, and our businesses should be the first in line to reopen safely. They’re prepared to do whatever it takes,” the Lord Mayor said.      

The pilot program is being championed by the Night Time Economy Advisory Committee (NTEAC) who are calling on the Victorian Government to let venues such as pubs, clubs and other venues reopen sooner.

City Activation portfolio lead Councillor Roshena Campbell said the time was right to explore options to safely reopen city businesses to protect livelihoods.

“Our city’s businesses have been crippled after six lockdowns and the earlier businesses can reopen, the quicker our city can recover,” Campbell said.

“This is a temporary measure that will get our businesses back on their feet sooner while we continue to work towards vaccination targets.”

NTEAC Chair James Young said trialling a health pass system would minimise health risks and get businesses open safely, sooner.

“First and foremost, we want staff in our venues to be safe. We want patrons to be safe. We don’t want anything to jeopardise that safety,” Young said.

“An opt-in trial in the City of Melbourne is the perfect opportunity to identify and resolve issues in partnership with industry and Government.

“It would require streamlined technology and processes to minimise the compliance burden on businesses and venues of all sizes, and to ensure the system is rolled out quickly and effectively.”

Councillors will vote on whether they will advocate for the health pass at the Future Melbourne Committee on Tuesday 21 September.

Updated at 10.00am AEST on 17 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

Advertisement
Advertisement