October 25, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: Victoria could soon be seeing large conferences return to major venues. The Victorian Tourism Conference at MCEC earlier this year had around 900 delegates

Further easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne and Victoria when the state hits its 80 percent vaccination milestone for those aged 16 and over will be brought forward to this Friday, and Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews has announced what will change once the state reaches 90 percent vaccination coverage for the population aged 12 and over in November.

Once the 90 percent target is reached, all capacity restrictions will be lifted for both indoor and outdoor events, although events with large numbers of younger children may not be able to operate at full capacity. Full vaccination will continue to be a requirement to attend events for the foreseeable future.

The bringing forward of Victoria’s easing of restrictions at 80 percent means Victoria will permit travel between its capital city and regional areas before NSW, despite NSW consistently recording more than a thousand fewer daily cases than Victoria.

Tweaks to Victoria’s 80 percent vaccination restrictions include removing a fixed capacity cap for indoor hospitality venues, with capacity to be governed by the one person per four square metres rule. Outdoors, the capacity limit of 500 people for hospitality venues will remain.

Entertainment venues – which micenet assumes includes business events venues – will have a cap of 1,000 people for fixed seating settings – or 75 percent of fixed seating, whichever is lower – and no fixed cap for non-seated settings, with the four square metre rule applying instead.

Events and festivals – including music festivals – can go ahead with up to 5,000 people at 80 percent, with Victoria’s Chief Health Officer able to approve exemptions for larger events under the Public Event Framework.

Once the state hits its 90 percent target, there will be no capacity caps or density limits for events and masks will no longer be required indoors, provided they “follow COVIDSafe rules including vaccination requirements”. However, there is a note on the roadmap indicating state significant venues holding major events will be required to get a one-off approval of their COVIDSafe venue plan.

On Friday last week, the Victorian Government also announced it was scrapping the two-week quarantine requirement for international travellers from November 1, bringing its entry requirements in line with those announced by NSW.