Victoria’s roadmap to reopening was set out by Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday and has been met with widespread disappointment for not doing enough to help businesses that have been hit with six lockdowns in the last 18 months.

The roadmap for what Victorians will be allowed to do once the state reaches 70 and then 80 per cent double-dose vaccination rates has been based on modelling from the Burnet Institute, which states the key to opening up and reducing risk in Victoria will be making sure workers across the state are vaccinated.

In delivering the roadmap Premier Andrews said: “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.

“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.

“As we reach 70 per cent and 80 per cent double dose vaccination targets, the roadmap lists certain venues for opening – but only on the condition that all eligible attendees to the venue are vaccinated.

“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.”

He added: “Another key part of the roadmap when we hit 70 per cent double dose vaccination, getting more activities outside is a key part of keeping us safe and slowing case numbers. We want to see retail shopping in laneways and fitness classes in our parks.

“Based on the overwhelming success of last summer’s Outdoor Dining program, we will be looking to provide additional funding to councils and businesses to get even more activities outside and more details will be released about this soon.”

The roadmap sets out that when Victoria reaches 70 per cent vaccination rate hospitality venues in Melbourne metro will reopen for seated service only, with one person per four square metre capacity, which will be capped at 25 people.

Once at 80 per cent seated service only still applies, smaller venues will be allowed 25 fully vaccinated people before density quotas are applied. For larger venues the one per 4sqm rule will apply indoors, capped at 150 fully vaccinated people, with one per 2sqm capped at 500 for outdoors.

In regional Victoria, 70 per cent vaccination rate will see seated service at one per 4sqm capped at 30 for indoors and one per 2sqm capped at 100 outdoors. At 80 per cent the same rules set out for metro will apply in regional Victoria.

The Australian Hotels Association Victoria (AHA Vic) said it was “gutted” that the Roadmap is too restrictive on patron numbers for pubs and hotels to reopen with viable trading arrangements.

AHA Vic president David Canny said as a bare minimum Victoria should match the New South Wales Roadmap. In NSW once the 70 per cent threshold is reached, fully vaccinated customers are welcome at pubs and hotels subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside without the requirement to be seated.

“If a venue is required to have vaccinated staff and customers, why are the patron numbers so restrictive? The logic is flawed,” Canny said.

“We call on the Victorian Government to maintain ongoing financial support for pubs and hotels under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund. 

“Our pubs and hotels employ 52,000 Victorians; livelihoods and jobs will continue to be lost if we can’t balance our health response with business needs.  

“We are asking for consistency across our industry and country. We don’t want Victoria lagging behind other states when we can be part of the solution to getting Victoria back on track.”

Meanwhile the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra also expressed his disappointment in the roadmap.

“Victorian businesses wanted a pathway to prosperity, but instead we got a roadmap with roadblocks,” he said.

“Victorians deserve answers as to why Victoria’s health advice and roadmap is so different to NSW. It is extremely tough to look over the border and see our NSW neighbours get back to relatively normal life while we continue to be locked down in a holding pattern.

“The State Government must urgently commit to additional financial support for the many businesses that remain in limbo and do more to incentivise vaccination, such as public health orders to mandate vaccination for workers in all consumer-facing sectors. We need a pathway to prosperity.”

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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