Further easing of Covid-19 restrictions

Covid-19 restrictions in Victoria will ease from 11.59pm Friday 22 February, including the removal of mask requirements in most indoor settings. Picture: ON FILE

Mount Evelyn residents will be able to take their masks off in some settings by the end of the week, as restrictions ease once again.

The Victorian government has announced an easing of pandemic orders and public health recommendations as of midnight Friday 25 February. This is due to hospitalisation rates stabilising and more Victorians having received their booster dose.

The recommendation for people to work or study from home where possible will be removed and the mask mandate will be lifted for almost all indoor settings.

Masks will only be required indoors in the following circumstances unless an exemption applies:

People on public transport, in taxis and rideshare, on planes, and indoors at an airport

People working or visiting hospitals, and indoor areas at care facilities

Workers in hospitality, retail, and the court system

Workers at justice and correctional facilities

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)

People working indoors at an event with more than 30,000 people attending In special circumstances, such as if you have Covid-19 or are a close contact and you’re leaving home

Masks remain recommended for workers who are addressing or serving the public, such as at reception, meeting guests, or serving customers.

The remaining restrictions on elective surgery will also be removed as of Monday 28 February, as pressures on hospitals have eased.

Public hospitals can now resume all surgery, based on their availability at any given time due to staff availability and Covid-19 demands, whilst private hospitals will be able to return to operating at pre-Covid levels.

Health minister Martin Foley praised Victorians for getting vaccinated and announced a number of temporary exceptions and deadline exemptions.

“Victorians have done such a great job getting vaccinated, so we’re able to take safe steps to get more people to return to the office,” he said.

“We’re balancing the need to support our health system with the benefits of easing restrictions in a careful and sensible way.”

The exceptions and extensions are as follows:

The third dose deadline for workers in education facilities who were fully vaccinated on or before October 25 will be extended by a month, provided that workers have a booking within that time – meaning all education workers have until 25 March to be up to date.

Fully vaccinated workers who aren’t yet eligible for a third dose will have a third dose deadline of three months and two weeks from when they had their second dose.

Workers who are recent international arrivals will have a new third dose deadline of four weeks from the date of their arrival, provided they have evidence of a future vaccine booking.

Workers whose temporary medical exemption (e.g. because they had Covid-19) has expired will have a new third dose deadline of two weeks following the expiry of the medical exemption.