Fully vaccinated Victorians can enjoy going to the pub with no restrictions and standing up having a beer with friends after the state removed almost all its COVID-19 restrictions.

At 11.59pm on Thursday capacity limits on all hospitality venues were finally removed, stand-up drinking became possible and mask mandates removed, in all but ‘high-risk’ settings. The changes only apply to fully vaccinated Victorians, those not vaxxed are still not allowed in hospitality venues and a number of other places.

Dancefloors have also reopened and Premier Daniel Andrews welcomed the changes.

“If you’re fully vaccinated, your life will return back to normal,” he said. “There are no more caps, there are no more closures.

“Whether it is 100,000 people at the MCG on Boxing Day, or a smaller group of people standing up at the local pub having a beer – this is a COVID-normal that every Victorian has wanted.

“You will have the normalcy you have missed. This is a safe delivery of the national plan, I am not only proud of Victorians but also deeply grateful.”

The Premier also said that vaccinated close contacts only to isolate until they receive a negative test and people who have visited a venue where there has been a positive case are no longer required to isolate.

“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 one exposure sites,” he said.

Meanwhile in New South Wales, capacity restrictions remain in place, at one person per two square metres, and Premier Perrottet said he would not be compared to Victoria with NSW “leading the way to reopening”.

“The reality is there’s very little difference between 2sq m and no limit. Ultimately, I don’t like restrictions as much as anyone else. I want to get government out of the way,” he said.

“I’m not going to get compared to Victoria when they’ve had probably more days in lockdown than anywhere else in the world.”

NSW will next ease restrictions when the state reaches 95 per cent double vaccination or on December 15, 2021, whichever comes first, but the one person per two square metre rule is expected to remain in place.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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