Earlier today, the Victorian Government announced that as of 11.59pm tonight, Wednesday 15 December 2021, a formal pandemic declaration applying to Victoria will come into effect, as part of a new pandemic management framework. This declaration will replace the current State of Emergency declaration (which is scheduled to expire at 11.59pm tonight).
As Master Builders Victoria has done throughout 2021, we are happy to provide the following update to members:
Best practice measures for the use of QR codes and COVIDSafe plans are to remain in place.
Important changes for the building and construction industry: worksites exposed to a positive coronavirus case will no longer need to be deep cleaned. This change comes after mounting international evidence has highlighted that coronavirus is an airborne or droplet-borne disease and the likelihood of becoming infected by touching a surface is very low risk.
Other broader changes include:
Mask settings in retail remain unchanged. Display homes and colour selection centres are under the same regulations as for retail.
People under 18 will no longer be required to show proof of their vaccination status at all venues, such as hospitality.
The mandatory vaccination requirement will be removed for all customers in retail, except hair and beauty services, and will also be removed in real estate, display homes, colour selection centres, places of worship, weddings and funerals.
Under the pandemic orders, restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs are still only open to fully vaccinated patrons and staff. Workers are still required to wear masks.
Face masks no longer need to be worn at weddings, funerals, or ceremonial settings. If these events are held at places of worship, there will not be any vaccination requirements or limits on participants, nor any requirement for organisers to check vaccination status. If the ceremony is at a hospitality setting, vaccine requirements will apply.
In addition, tour and transport operators, gyms and creative arts premises such as theatres and cinemas will not need to clean equipment between uses.
Please note that workplaces will still need to maintain COVIDSafe plans.
The new pandemic framework has also strengthened parliamentary oversight, with an independent joint investigatory committee and the ability for the Parliament to disallow pandemic orders. Parliament and the Independent Pandemic Management Advisory Committee will oversee the operation of the new pandemic management framework.
The Statement of Reasons and the advice of both the Chief Health Officer (CHO) and Minister for Health will be tabled in Parliament. A copy of the pandemic declaration will also be published accordingly.
Once a pandemic declaration has been made, the Minister for Health has the power to make pandemic orders he considers reasonably necessary to protect public health. These powers are like the CHO’s power to make public health directions and are in line with powers available in other jurisdictions across Australia.
Pandemic orders are made after the Minister for Health considers the CHO’s advice and other factors he considers relevant, including social and economic factors. Such orders will be published on the Pandemic Orders Register on the Department of Health website.
Duration and Extensions
Made under section 165AB (1) of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 this declaration will remain in place until 11.59pm, Wednesday, 12 January 2022.
The initial pandemic declaration can be renewed within four weeks, if the Premier is satisfied on reasonable grounds the pandemic continues to be a serious risk to public health. After the first declaration, further pandemic declarations can be extended every three months.
As the year comes to a close, please stay vigilant regarding maintaining COVIDSafe worksites and follow the guidance of the Building & Construction Industry COVID-19 Guidelines (Revision 16).
On behalf of our members, Master Builders Victoria met yesterday with Minister Pakula, Minister for Minister for Industry Support and Recovery, Minister for Trade, Minister for Business Precincts, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Minister for Racing. The key message from the Minister for our sector was to encourage the take-up of the COVID-19 booster. The events unfolding in the UK and across Europe further highlight that the pandemic is far from over. It is therefore vital that, in the coming summer months, our industry steps up again to boost its vaccination status so that we can continue working.
As always, Master Builders Victoria will continue to advocate for the interests of our members, including the supply chain and trade shortage challenges being experienced by our sector.
We look forward to continuing to work with you during these unprecedented times of change.
Thank you for your support of Master Builders Victoria.
For further information or assistance, members can call our Assist Team on 03 9411 4555