Victorians are having to suddenly reassess their New Year’s Eve plans after six locally acquired coronavirus infections prompted the state government to reintroduce restrictions.
Here’s what the Victorian government’s latest COVID-19 restriction announcement means for your plans.
The limit on visitors to homes has been cut from 30 to 15
If you were planning a big party tonight, you might need to cancel or uninvite people.
From 5pm, the cap on visitors to your home will drop from 30 to 15.
That means you can have 15 visitors to your home, in addition to your household.
Under the existing rules, visiting children are counted unless they are less than one year old.
“If you are planning a party tonight, you will need to reduce your numbers from the 30 down to 15,” Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said.
Masks are mandatory indoors once again
Victoria is tightening its rules on masks after easing them on December 6.
Since that time, Victorians had only been required to carry a mask when they left home, and wear them on public transport, while in taxis or ride share vehicles, or when going to large retail venues, including shopping centres, supermarkets and department stores.
From 5pm on Thursday, it will be compulsory to wear masks indoors in any location which is not your own home.
Health Minister Martin Foley said there were exemptions for medical reasons, and for when you are eating or drinking while seated.
If you have a restaurant booking, you can still go
Earlier this week, the government urged people to only come into Melbourne’s CBD on Thursday night if they had a booking at a hospitality venue.
The New Year’s Eve fireworks display which usually draws about 400,000 people into the city has been cancelled this year because of the pandemic.
In its place is an outdoor dining event involving restaurants across 11 precincts.
Bookings are a must.
Mr Foley said the existing rules and systems, such as patron registration using QR codes, gave the state’s public health team confidence that dining could go ahead safely and patrons could be contacted quickly if necessary in the event of further cases.
But Ms Allan said anyone who felt unwell should not go out, should get tested and then isolate at home until they received a result.
Victorians urged not to travel to NSW, and Victorians in NSW urged to come home
Mr Foley had a clear message for any Victorians considering visiting New South Wales: Don’t go.
His message to Victorians currently in NSW was equally simple: Come home.
“This is a quickly changing situation and we don’t want you to be trapped in New South Wales,” Mr Foley said.
Anyone who has been in or visited the Blue Mountains or Wollongong regions from December 27 has until midnight to enter Victoria.
They must apply for a new travel permit through Service Victoria, get tested within 24 hours of returning to Victoria, and must self-quarantine at home for 14 days from when they last left the region.
From New Year’s Day, the Victorian border will be closed to anyone who has been to the Blue Mountains or Wollongong regions in the past 14 days.
The border was already closed to anyone who had been in the Northern Beaches area, Greater Sydney and the NSW Central Coast.