Working From Home and Mask Restrictions Ease in Victoria

By Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang is based in New York and covers health and U.S. news. Contact her at marina.zhang@epochtimes.com.au.
February 22, 2022 Updated: February 22, 2022

The Victorian state government of Australia has announced an ease to mask restrictions and work from home recommendations from Feb. 25, citing declining COVID-19 hospitalisation rates and increasing third-dose vaccination rates.

Masks will still be required at indoor setting for students in Year 3 and above and for early learning workers, staff in transport, medical environments, as well as workers in hospitality, retail, the court system, correctional facilities and large events with more than 30,000 people.

Elective surgeries are also expected to resume with capacity based on staff availability and COVID-19 demands for public hospitals, whilst private hospitals are expected to resume to pre-pandemic activity for elective surgeries.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said on Feb. 22 that the state is “proud” to be supporting the COVID-19 vaccine program by “delivering more vaccines than any other state or territory and focusing on the Victorians who needed additional access and support.”

“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.”

Meanwhile, an expert in child health from the University of Melbourne has warned that children should not endure tougher restrictions than adults.

“And yet, this is what we’re expecting of children: all day, five days a week,” she said. “I think in the context of masks, children should be following the same guidelines as adults,” Prof. Fiona Russell told The Age.

Scheme to Repair Economy After COVID-19 Measures

After imposing some of the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in the country and locking down its capital city for over 200 days, the state Labor government announced schemes to aid economic recovery for struggling businesses to entice people back to the Melbourne CBD.

To boost economy and business in the state, the Victorian state government announced a $100 million voucher scheme to provide rebates to Victorians for entertainment, dining and travel with $10 million for the Melbourne metropolitan region and $30 million for food and wine in regional Victoria and suburbs beyond Melbourne CBD. Customers can claim up to 25 percent for their bill.

Victorian Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said on Feb. 21 that “business and consumer confidence is critical for our continued economic recovery and that’s why we’re investing in these programs to deliver a boost where it is needed most.”

Most Vaccinated State

The state proudly declared on Feb. 22 that it had become the most vaccinated Australian jurisdiction, which comes after Premier Daniel Andrews indicated during lockdowns last year that he would not open the state until the vaccination rate reached 80 percent.

The state has delivered more than 5.7 million first doses, 5.3 million second doses and 2.9 million third doses state-wide. On average, 11 vaccines a minute have been administered by Victoria’s state-run services since the COVID-19 vaccination program commenced a year ago.

Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang is based in New York and covers health and U.S. news. Contact her at marina.zhang@epochtimes.com.au.