Explained: What businesses need to know about the regional Victoria reopening roadmap

Victoria

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Source: AAP/Daniel Pockett.

Retailers in regional Victoria that are currently closed under stage three coronavirus restrictions will be allowed to reopen from September 13 under the state’s reopening roadmap.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said businesses in regional Victoria would be able to open up faster than those in metropolitan Melbourne in the coming weeks, subject to case thresholds that will see restrictions gradually eased over the next four months.

From September 13, under a “second step”, retailers in regional Victoria will be allowed to reopen, although beauty and personal care service businesses must remain closed and hospitality businesses will remain in takeaway- and delivery-only mode.

From here, businesses will gradually reopen over three further stages, defined by case thresholds, beginning with a move to a “third step” when regional Victoria records fewer than five new cases over a 14-day period and no cases with an unknown source over that time.

Once this threshold is met, hospitality businesses will be able to start serving groups of up to 10 customers in outdoor settings, while all other retailers, except beauty and personal care service businesses, will be allowed to reopen.

Regional gyms will also be allowed to open, subject to “heavy restrictions”, and a wide variety of regional industries will be allowed to bring some staff back to work on an industry-by-industry basis.

Regional hospitality businesses won’t be allowed to serve customers indoors again until at least November 23, when Victoria records no new cases over a 14-day period. Under this “last step” (fourth step), beauty and personal care service businesses will be allowed to reopen.

A final “COVID Normal” step will begin when the state has no active cases, there no “outbreaks of concern” in other states, and there have been no new cases for 28 days.

Guidance for metropolitan Melbourne businesses is available in this separate article.

What the reopening roadmap means for regional Victoria

Under the reopening roadmap for regional Victoria, there are four industry classifications:

  • “Closed”, where no one can be at the workplace except for emergencies;
  • “Heavily restricted”, which includes workforce reductions and staff working from home where possible;
  • “Restricted”, which allows some easing of workforce reductions (industry by industry); and
  • “Open with a COVIDSafe plan”, where businesses can open as usual with coronavirus plans.

These classifications carry varying rules, from requirements to reduce workforce capacities to rules forcing businesses to conduct operations outside.

Each industry will be subject to different rules under each stage, a full break down of which is available online here.

Businesses in different industries will move between these four classifications against a timeline based on case thresholds.

Each step triggers the next, as follows.

  • A “first step” from now until September 13, under which restrictions remain the same as they are now.
  • A “second step”, starting on September 13 and lasting until regional Victoria records an average of fewer than five new cases over two week period with no mystery cases.
  • A “third step” that will last until at least November 23, until Victoria records no new cases for 14-days.
  • A “last step” (fourth step) that will last until Victoria has no active cases, there no “outbreaks of concern” in other states, and there have been no new cases for 28-days.
  • And lastly, a “COVID Normal”.

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