Buloke businesses to lead October 'vaccinated economy' trials
A series of trials were announced on Sunday which will aim to test COVID-19 protective systems in the pathway to easing of restrictions for vaccinated Victorians. Businesses from the Buloke shire are slated for one of the first trial sites for controlled easing of restrictions.
The announcement comes as Victoria seeks to gradually reopen from recent world-record length metropolitan, and regional, COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
Buloke Shire, serving Birchip, Charlton, Donald, Sea Lake and Wycheproof- and smaller townships of Berriwillock, Culgoa, Nandaly, Nullawil and Watchem- features in a list of nominated trial sites for Premier Daniel Andrews' 'vaccinated economy'.
The central Victorian rural shire has not recorded a single positive COVID-19 case and boasts a high vaccination rate.
The trials have been scheduled to begin on 11 October, aligning to a fortnight before with Victoria’s forecast 26 October re-opening date, based on when 70 per cent double dose vaccination targets are expected to be met.
FlowNews24 understands the trials for the 'vaccinated economy' will feature businesses from across the hairdressing, beauty services, tourism and hospitality industries as well as other events such as community celebrations.
The government has nominated Buloke among other areas including Pyrenees, Bendigo, Bass Coast, Warnambool and East Gippsland as 20 trial sites based on COVID-19 cases and vaccination rates.
All attendees at sanctioned events will have to show proof of a double dose COVID-19 vaccine.
The second phase of trials is being planned by authorities and will commence pending the successful outcomes of October’s first trial phase.
Participating businesses will be aided by support officers deployed on the ground in order to provide training for staff and support for business owners.
Provided all patrons and staff members are fully vaccinated against the virus, the patron cap in regional cafes and restaurants will increase to 30 people for indoor spaces and 100 people for outdoor spaces - once the 70 per cent double dose vaccination rate is triggered in Victoria.
Shadow Minister for Regional Recovery, Louise Staley, welcomed the announcement while acknowledging various communities that have never recorded positive COVID cases have endured tremendous hardships in Victoria.
“Regional businesses and events are keen to start the COVID-recovery phase so the government must allow all businesses within the trial areas to participate rather than exclude any without justification.”
“Although Daniel Andrews has previously ridiculed the Liberal Nationals’ calls for COVID-rules based on local government areas, todays trials by LGA are a welcome reversal.”