After all other states repealed their public transportation mask laws, Daniel Andrews eventually gave up and revoked Victoria’s.
After Queensland, South Australia, and New South Wales this week cancelled their mandates, the Victorian premier was the final holdout.
As part of a Covid-19 mask compliance campaign, more than 100 penalties and more than 181,000 warnings were given on Victorian public transportation in less than a month.
With masks currently only being required for public transportation in the ACT, Victoria is the second-to-last state or territory in Australia to abolish the feared law.
In preparation for the long weekend around the AFL grand final, state health minister Mary-Anne Thomas stated that masks will no longer be required in taxis, ride-hailing services, or on public transportation as of Thursday at 11.59 p.m.
‘The ruling will give greater national uniformity on the approach to mask wearing and puts Victoria in line with mask regulations in most other states,’ she added.
‘I commend the chief health officer for his advise on this topic, and these reasonable amendments give uniformity for the community on mask wearing regulations.
In order to achieve long-lasting behaviour change in the community as we transition to using Covid, we must provide individuals the option to wear masks in order to protect both themselves and others around them.
Keeping up with Covid vaccines is crucial for Victorians in order to avoid severe disease and reduce the burden on the healthcare system.
For anybody who has COVID-19 but is not obliged to isolate, as well as at hospitals, nursing homes, or any other healthcare institution, masks must still be worn.
They were nonetheless highly advised for use inside, in settings where individuals were unable to physically separate themselves, for persons who had any indications of COVID, and for anybody who could have a weakened immune system or be susceptible to COVID.
People should also keep their homes well ventilated, get tested if they exhibit symptoms, and see their doctor about COVID-19 treatments, according to Ms. Thomas.
Only a few days before, the Andrews administration scoffed at the idea that the mandate should terminate beyond SA and Western Australia.
‘Our priority remains on educating Victorians rather than issuing penalties,’ a government official said on Monday. “We’ve handed out approximately 160,000 masks to riders on public transportation.”
“Public transport operators are continuing to verify mask compliance, and more masks have been made available to consumers using our public transportation network,” the statement reads.
Despite NSW and Queensland repealing already-in-effect mask regulations, Mr. Andrews maintained his stance on Tuesday.
The required (isolation) times have recently undergone revisions, according to the national cabinet, the premier told reporters on Tuesday.
I don’t have any news to make on masks today, but be assured that we are looking at those issues and all COVID laws. We are all looking at these rules.
Up until the end of the month, masks will probably still be required for ACT commuters using public transportation.