As we reach the end of winter and COVID case numbers continue to drop, the Victorian Government is encouraging Victorians to safely return to the office.
Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas today announced that work from home recommendations have been lifted – giving more Victorians the option to return to work and delivering a further boost to economies like the Melbourne CBD.
The move is in line with the current public health recommendations, which recommended that during the peak periods of COVID transmission in July and August, people worked from home when practical to do so.
The work from home recommendations were in place to help reduce transmission and protect our health system when it was under significant pressure during winter. The advice from the Department of Health is that this pressure and transmission risk has reduced.
With fourth dose vaccinations now available, more antiviral options and active case numbers now dropping to 15,024 – down from a peak of 71,428 on 23 July – the time is right for adjustments to be made.
Employers and staff may still consider remote working arrangements that are most appropriate for their workplace and employees based on individual requirements.
Even when there are lower case numbers, it is always important that any employee who has COVID symptoms does a test and stays home.
To help keep their employees safe, businesses or organisations with on-site operations (including home-based businesses) need to have a COVIDSafe Plan which is regularly reviewed to ensure it’s as up to date as possible.
To reflect the evolving nature of the pandemic, the Department of Health will no longer publish a daily media update from the Chief Health Officer – moving to a weekly update from 7 September. Daily COVID data will continue to be published on Twitter and on the Department of Health website.
Following the winter peak, the Premier has also requested and received public health advice to confirm that the pandemic declaration should remain until at least the existing date of 12 October, prior to which new advice will be requested.
All Victorians, no matter where they work, are also encouraged to make sure they are up to date with vaccinations, to wear a good quality face mask when in an indoor space and unable to socially distance and maintain good ventilation indoors.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas
“With spring now here and case numbers and hospitalisations declining significantly, more people may want to get back into the office – and back out to the cafes, shops and bars in busy professional precincts across the state.”
“Lifting the work from home recommendation is in line with current public health advice – we encourage employers and employees to have a conversation about what’s right for their individual needs.”
Reviewed 01 September 2022