Victoria's COVID-19 restrictions to ease, so what's changing?

Nearly all remaining coronavirus restrictions will be lifted statewide for fully vaccinated people from 11:59pm Thursday, November 18.

Victoria will reach its target of 90 per cent of the population aged over 12 fully vaccinated either Saturday or Sunday this week, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday morning.

So, what's changing?

As a result, the rules will be eased at 11.59pm on Thursday.

There will be no limits to visitors in the home and no caps or density limits in hospitality.

The vaccinated economy will remain, as will masks in some high-risk settings, including retail.

This will mean unvaccinated people still face great restrictions on their movements.

Mr Andrews said masks in retail would hopefully only remain for another month.

"There are no more caps, there are no more closures," he said.

Premeir Daniel Andrews.

Premeir Daniel Andrews.

Mr Andrews said unless health services see a significant jump in hospitalisations, customers for retail will no longer need to wear masks after 15 December - in line with NSW settings.

High-risk work settings such as corrections and meat, poultry and seafood processing will continue to require masks.

There will still be mask requirements, density limits and caps in place for weddings, funerals, places of worship and other settings if the vaccination status of attendees is not being checked.

The usual exceptions will apply.

Non-essential retail settings across Victoria will join the vaccinated economy and will only be open to Victorians who are fully vaccinated, under 12 years and two months, or have a valid exemption.

See the full statement from the premier here:

Changes to self-quarantine

Thanks to Victoria's vaccination rate, self-quarantine obligations can be reduced across the board for COVID-19 cases and fully-vaccinated contacts.

From 11:59pm Thursday, the vast majority of people who come into contact with a confirmed positive case outside their home won't have to self-quarantine.

These contacts will be required to get a standard (PCR) test and isolate until they get a negative result.

This means exposure in places like offices, restaurants or nightclubs won't automatically result in quarantine for the patrons or staff, who previously would have been designated Primary Close Contacts at Tier 1 exposure sites.

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However, the Department of Health will continue to manage emerging outbreaks of concern and 'superspreader events' and can impose a quarantine period on contacts on a case-by-case basis, depending on evidence.

Cases are required to notify their workplace, school or childcare about their positive result. Once informed by the case, workplaces will also have to identify and notify employees and sub-contractors - but not customers - who were exposed to advise them to get tested.

Schools/childcare will also identify and inform staff and student contacts.

School and workplace contacts presenting to testing centres for their PCR test will also be offered Victorian-funded rapid antigen tests (RATs) for recommended use before entering sensitive settings.

In good news for businesses, the changes effectively mean the end of mandatory deep cleaning, and the Departmental 'clearance' process. They will self-manage their exposure in line with public health guidance.

However, COVIDSafe practices are strongly encouraged and a COVIDSafe plan is still required.

Changes to exposure site alerts, isolation rules

Exposure sites will no longer be published. Instead, the Department will use the new alert function in the Service Victoria app to notify patrons of higher-risk venues where positive cases have been present - such as restaurants, gyms and nightclubs - and advise them to get tested.

Individuals who test positive are strongly recommended to tell the social contacts they have spent time with and encourage them to get tested.

The Department will not trace or manage these contacts.

With a simple call-to-action, the advice can move faster when the individual is empowered to do it among the people they know.

People who live with someone who has COVID-19 pose the highest transmission risk. Household contacts who have had more than four hours of contact with a case inside a household, accommodation or care setting must isolate for seven days if fully vaccinated or 14 days if not fully vaccinated, with a PCR test required on day 0 and for release.

If children under 12 are household contacts, they will be considered fully vaccinated if everyone else in their household aged over 12 is fully vaccinated.

Workers exposed at work, and children who are exposed at school or early childhood centres, will need to show a negative PCR test result to return to work or school - with recommended RAT testing thereafter.

In addition to isolation changes for contacts, people who have COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days, instead of 14 days.

These changes are recommended by Victoria's public health experts based on Burnet Institute modelling, behavioural insights and international experience - and are guided by the goal of an open, vaccinated society where both public health risks and social disruptions are minimised in a balanced way.

When the settings are in effect, a new online portal offering clear and simple 'checklist' advice for cases, contacts, workplaces and schools will be published at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/checklist, which will also include advice on how to have the conversation with your family and friends.

COVIDSafe settings will also be published at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings.

This story 'Back to normal': Sweeping COVID rule changes announced for Victoria first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.