Sunday, 24 May 2020

Finally, we have the news we’ve been waiting for… Easing of restrictions heralds the re-opening of our sector

This morning Premier Daniel Andrews provided an update on the re-opening of our state’s accommodation and attractions from 1 June, along with confirmation that Victoria will be able to have its vital ski season from 22 June.  Plus, with Victoria not ever having had any border closures, it means we can also welcome interstate visitors to our state.

VTIC has been working very closely with various departments of government over the past week since the announcement of hospitality being able to commence operations from 1 June to secure certainty for other parts of our industry.  So, today’s announcement was a welcomed step forward.

The Premier stressed that easing these restrictions can occur as a result of the extensive testing the state has undertaken, with 174,000 tests completed since 11 May and 420,000 tests overall.  If Victoria was a country, we would be sixth in the world for testing.  This result, coupled with the low rate of transmissions in Victoria, provides government with further options to implement changes based on this data.

While the Premier announced reactivation of the tourism sector, it will require operators to comply with strict rules that address density, distancing and hygiene.  Our indoor attractions will need to subscribe to the 20 patrons maximum per enclosed space rule within their venue.  Density quotients will be based on 1 person per 4 square metres of space, which means you would need 80 square meters per enclosed space to accommodate the maximum of 20 patrons in that specific area.

Government is considering how these rules are interpreted for our outdoor venues, which means they’ve heard our position that outdoor attractions cannot be subject to the same density rules as indoor venues.

It’s also important to note here that, for our accommodation providers, including campgrounds and caravan parks, communal facilities like shared kitchens or bathrooms cannot be used at this stage.

The Premier pointed out that definitive guidelines have been developed and government will be liaising with industry groups to ensure these protocols are understood and implemented properly.  VTIC is already in dialogue with government departments on these guidelines and will be working closely with them over the next couple days to keep you informed and prepared.

For further details read the Premier’s Statement from today.

For further details on Victoria’s restriction levels from 1 June visit >> Department of Health and Human Services

To make sure our industry understands its obligations and is best prepared to operate in this new COVID-safe world, VTIC has developed a set of protocols that the industry can follow to ensure you are undertaking the best measures to prepare your business.

Following the Premier’s announcement today, we will work with government officials this week to understand their proposed guidelines and include any new procedures into the protocols we’ll be sharing with you.

The announcement today is a wonderful first step for our state, but it still leaves many parts of our industry without answers about their future reactivation.  In particular, the events sector and tour and transport sector have not been addressed in any of these latest instructions.

VTIC will continue to engage with government on these critical sectors to our industry and seek some guidance on how and when theses specific issues will be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Kind regards,

Felicia Mariani
Chief Executive