Vaccine mandates

The Victorian government has announced that workers in the following areas will be required to get a third dose of the vaccine before being able to return to work onsite.

  • Health care

  • Aged care

  • Disability care

  • Emergency services

  • Correctional facilities

  • Quarantine accommodation

  • Food distribution

The orders come into effect at 11:59pm on Wednesday 12 January and workers who are eligible for the booster from that date will have until February 12 to get the third dose. Workers not yet eligible to get the third dose will have three months to get it.

Retail supermarket staff are not included in the mandate. Nor will it apply to workers who have a valid medical exemption.

Changes to close contact isolation requirements for certain workers

Workers in manufacturing, distribution or packaging of food and beverages including retail supermarket workers may be exempted from close contact isolation requirements in order to attend work from 11:59pm January 12 if it is necessary for the continuity of operations and other options are exhausted. Exempted workers must be asymptomatic and undertake daily RATs for 5 days and return a negative result.

Rapid antigen testing in Victoria

If you have symptoms or you are a contact of someone who has COVID-19, you are encouraged to use a rapid antigen test as your first option.

If you have symptoms or you are a household or household-like contact who must get tested, and you can't access a rapid antigen test, you can get a PCR test.

You can use a rapid antigen test if you want to quickly check if you may have COVID-19, for example, before attending a crowded event, social gathering or visiting vulnerable people. Rapid antigen tests may also be used as part of an established surveillance program such as one organised by your school or your employer.

If you are having difficulty obtaining rapid antigen test kits, you might like to try

At-home testing and reporting

Rapid antigen tests can be done at home by yourself. Most will provide you with a result in 15 to 30 minutes.

If you test positive using a rapid antigen test, you are a case and do not need to confirm the result with a PCR test. You must isolate for 7 days and follow the checklist for cases, and report your positive test to the health department on 1800 675 398 or online.

For more information:

How to report a positive result on a rapid antigen test

Mandatory masks

Masks are mandatory for people aged eight and over in all indoor settings except private homes.

Masks are now also mandatory for all major events over 30,000 people both indoors and outside when moving around. See the government's Face masks page for more information about where masks are required.

There is a density limit of 1 person per 2 sqm in all indoor areas in hospitality venues (e.g. restaurant, bars, and nightclubs) and certain entertainment venues (karaoke, arcades, escape rooms, adult entertainment, gaming, bingo and the casino). Other entertainment venues do not have a density limit (such as theatres and cinemas), because in these settings people are required to be seated with masks on.

Victorians are also urged to work from home.

Elective surgery will be paused across much of the state to help hospitals cope with increasing numbers of COVID patients. This pause takes effect January 6 and applies to public and private hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne and major regional cities. However, all emergency surgery and urgent elective surgery will continue.

Further information:

  • You can reduce risks by maintaining 1.5 metre distance from others where possible, using hand sanitiser and practising good hygiene.

  • Ventilation and air filtration helps. Consider opening windows to let the fresh air blow through or catching up with friends outside.

  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you have been advised to get tested by a contact, workplace or school, get a COVID-19 test and isolate until you get a negative result.

  • If you have COVID-19, or you are a household contact, you need to quarantine. If your symptoms get rapidly worse, please seek help. Visit the hospital if it’s an emergency. See Your COVID Checklist for what to do.

  • Remember to check in everywhere every time using the Service Victoria app.

  • Get vaccinated to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community. If you aren’t fully vaccinated, you’re at a much higher risk of going to hospital. Book an appointment today.

Get your booster vaccination as soon as you are eligible.

Additional information:

  • Latest advice for travel in and out of Victoria can be found here.

  • Frequently asked questions about Omicron.

Stay up to date: Victoria State Government Health and Human Services.

More questions?

If you need help such as finding a testing or vaccination facility near you, or have questions specific to your personal circumstances, the Sonder team is here 24/7 to provide advice and assistance. Chat with us any time.

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