The Victorian Government has outlined plans to conduct trials in highly vaccinated parts of regional Victoria to see how business, including hospitality, can operate in a vaccinated economy.

Up to 20 vaccinated economy trials will test systems and support in the fortnight before Victoria is aiming to reach the key 70 per cent full vaccination mark on 26 October, triggering greater freedoms for vaccinated people.

Scheduled to start from 11 October, it is anticipated the trials will cover hospitality and other industries and events, allowing higher patron numbers with all attendees confirmed as being fully vaccinated.

Premier Daniel Andrews, said: “Getting vaccinated has never been more important – it reduces the risks to you and your family of serious illness from COVID-19 and it allows greater freedoms for all Victorians as we re-open together.

“These trials are an important step as we move towards a vaccinated economy, supporting businesses to open safely and recover strongly and individuals to play their very important part.”

As regional areas with high vaccination rates and low or no COVID-19 cases the Bass Coast, Greater Bendigo, Pyrenees, Warrnambool, Buloke and East Gippsland municipalities will be the first invited to participate in the trials.

The Government will work with local councils and industry bodies to help identify suitable businesses and events for the important fact-finding exercises.

Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula, said: “Businesses and events are on the front line of this vital campaign to keep Victorians safe and our economy recovering strongly.

“We’ll do the work on these trials and provide businesses with the support they need to maintain and build on the gains that continue to be enabled by vaccination.”

The trials will confirm the best processes for establishing vaccination status, with work underway on how Commonwealth vaccination data can be best integrated with the Service Victoria app.

Pending the outcomes of the first phase, a second phase of trials using 80 per cent double dose settings will be held, prior to Victoria achieving that threshold.

Minister for Government Services Danny Pearson, said: “We’re working with the Commonwealth to make sure the technology and systems that will underpin the vaccinated economy are effective and easy to use.

“The Service Victoria app will be the most convenient way for most people to prove their vaccination status and participate fully in the community.”

Training for staff, supports for business owners and public communication of vaccine requirements will also be part of the trials. Support officers will be deployed on the ground to ensure trials run smoothly and participating businesses receive the assistance they need.

In regional cafes and restaurants, the patron cap increases to 30 people for indoor spaces and 100 people for outdoor spaces once Victoria reaches the 70 per cent double dose vaccination – on the basis that all patrons and staff are fully vaccinated. Without confirmation of vaccination status, there is no change to existing settings.

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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