The Victorian government has significantly expanded vaccine requirements for businesses as the state continues to grapple with a COVID-19 Delta outbreak.
On Friday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said any business that has been operating onsite despite coronavirus restrictions will be subject to a new vaccination mandate.
Workplaces range from dry cleaners to click-and-collect retail stores and are expected to include about 1.25 million Victorian workers.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new rules.
What businesses does Victoria’s new vaccine mandate apply to?
The new vaccination requirements will apply to all workplaces that the government considers authorised providers.
Authorised providers include any business that has been able to open in areas under lockdown, such as grocery and pet stores.
The full list is available on this Victorian government webpage and includes:
- shops that sell food and groceries;
- restaurants and cafes;
- bottle shops;
- financial institutes;
- court services and political offices;
- post offices;
- child health and care services;
- news agents;
- petrol stations;
- construction sites;
- pet stores;
- veterinary clinics and zoos;
- meat processing plants;
- click-and-collect services;
- car parks and car wash premises;
- laundry and dry cleaners;
- pool and spa maintenance service provider; and
- hair clinics servicing clients with medical certificates.
When do workers need to be vaccinated by?
Any employee completing authorised work must have their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by Friday, October 15 to continue working onsite.
Workers then have a further six weeks, until November 26, to have their second dose.
Does the vaccine mandate apply to all of Victoria?
The new mandate covers the entire state including metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
What if my industry already has a vaccine mandate?
Construction businesses, schools and healthcare organisations are already subject to vaccination mandates and the original timeline for those rules still apply.
For example, construction workers must have had at least one dose of a vaccine in order to work onsite from Tuesday, October 5.
What if I run a business on the authorised list and I’m not in lockdown?
Anyone on the list of authorised providers or workers must comply with the new vaccination rules, regardless of whether they are located in a locked-down area.
Do businesses that can operate remotely have to comply?
No, the vaccine mandate only applies to businesses and authorised workers who work onsite.
Are there any exceptions to Victoria’s vaccine mandate?
Workers who have received a medical exemption from an authorised health professional will be able to continue working onsite without receiving a vaccine. More information about medical exemptions are available at this Services Australia webpage.
In some other circumstances, a business can allow an unvaccinated worker to complete onsite work.
These “exceptional” circumstances include when a worker needs to provide urgent medical care, attend the premises to respond to an emergency or perform urgent work to protect assets.