Jab mandate scrapped in some Vic settings

Vaccine mandates have been scrapped in several settings in Victoria but masks will remain in retail, thanks to stubborn COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

From Thursday, shoppers will no longer need to prove they are vaccinated to visit non-essential retail outlets, places of worship, weddings and funerals and real estate inspections and auctions.

Victorians aged under 18 will also no longer need to show proof of vaccination.

However, hair and beauty customers must still be fully vaccinated, as do all patrons of restaurants, bars and cafes.

Mask mandates will also continue in all retail settings and for hospitality workers, but will not be required at weddings and funerals.

The changes, part of new pandemic orders signed by Health Minister Martin Foley on Wednesday, will remain in place until January 12.

Victoria recorded 1405 new cases and a further three deaths on Wednesday, with another four Omicron cases taking the state’s total to 10.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned the state will see a “significant increase” in Omicron infections, as he pointed to the case spike in NSW and widespread infections in Europe.

A positive Omicron case visited Sircuit Bar in Fitzroy between 9pm and midnight and Collingwood’s The Peel Hotel from 11.30pm to 3am, with about 700 people who also attended the venues now deemed close contacts.

They must get a PCR test immediately and isolate at home for seven days from exposure if fully vaccinated, or 14 if not.

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