The planned move to 85% capacity at stadiums, including the MCG and Marvel Stadium, was delayed last week amid closures across the country, and Associate Professor O’Brien said that the interstate situation meant that the Victorian authorities still had to be “a little more careful in our approach” as they considered restrictions this week.
Bill Lang, director of the Small Business Australia lobby group, welcomed signs that masks may soon be lifted in offices, saying they are a “major obstacle” for workers in businesses and small businesses.
âQR codes are now mandatory in offices, employers know who is at work and they have COVIDSafe plans. The government should trust adults to be adults in the workplace so that they can go about their business, âhe said.
âThe other problem with us is the apparent inconsistency between the settings. Ten people can sit around a table in a restaurant without a mask for two or three hours in an environment where they speak louder and mingle. In an office, people speak at a normal volume and are generally socially distant.
Data accumulated by the Property Council of Australia last week revealed that office occupancy rates in Melbourne fell to 26% after the last foreclosure ended, compared to 67% in Sydney and 71% in Brisbane.
Melbourne Mayor Sally Capp said pedestrian traffic in the CBD had returned to 80% of pre-pandemic levels over the weekend, but that a “sustained effort” was needed to attract more visitors to the city. Ms Capp said her Melbourne city council would reduce CBD parking to $ 5 on weekends and after 4 p.m. on weekdays at 33 parking lots starting Monday.
âWe still see some reluctance to use public transport,â she said.
Victorian Nationals frontman Peter Walsh said mask rules also restrict businesses in regions and while this is reasonable in malls and large interior areas, a workplace where employees know each other should to be freed.
âI think the masks actually prevent people from continuing their work,â he said.
La Trobe University epidemiologist Hassan Vally said wearing a mask in the office was “quite a significant” cost that had to be weighed against the benefit of transmission it prevented in Victoria, which he said was a difficult call.
âOf course, if it keeps people from going to the office, it comes at a significant cost. Offices are a controllable environment where you can respond effectively if there are cases, so hopefully the masks will be relaxed in that setting as soon as possible, âhe said.
âOffices are less risky than a place like a supermarket, an uncontrolled space where a lot of foreigners mix. When the cost goes up on a mask for 10 minutes, it seems like a reasonable thing to hang on to. “
COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar warned Victorians in interstate “red zones” like Greater Sydney that authorities have no immediate plans to ease border restrictions and that travelers should therefore start making arrangements if they want to return home soon.
âDon’t assume we’re going to flip a switch anytime in the next few days,â he warned travelers.
“There is nothing in those numbers at the moment that makes us think we’re going to be reducing these red areas anytime soon.”
Travelers returning from a red zone are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days, while travelers from orange zones are only required to self-isolate while awaiting a negative COVID-19 test result.
With Abbi Dib
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