Libs call for end to Vic face mask mandate

Victoria's vaccination mandate for construction workers sparked violent protests in Melbourne.
Victoria's vaccination mandate for construction workers sparked violent protests in Melbourne.

The Victorian opposition has called for an early end to the state's indoor mask mandate in a bid to encourage workers back to central Melbourne.

Under the current rules, people aged over 12 must wear a face mask indoors unless they are at home.

The restriction is set to be lifted when the state reaches 90 per cent double vaccination on or about November 24, with the exception of public transport and high risk locations.

But Opposition Leader Matthew Guy says the government should move faster because the measure is deterring city workers from returning to the the office.

"They are vastly choosing to stay at home where they don't have to wear the mask," he told reporters.

Earlier this week, the Melbourne city council and the state government announced $150 dining rebates in an attempt to lure people back to the CBD.

Many businesses have closed down during the city's extended lockdowns, with non-essential indoor retail reopening a fortnight ago.

Victoria recorded 1115 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths on Friday.

The figures bring the total number of active cases in the state to 16,098, including 426 in hospital, 82 of whom are in intensive care and 50 on ventilators.

The seven-day hospitalisation average has dropped from 559 on Thursday to 530 on Friday.

Some 67,925 Victorians were tested on Thursday and 9584 received a vaccine dose at a state-run hub.

Just under 93 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have received at least one vaccine dose and 86 per cent both.

It comes as the state's chief health officer warned several vaccination deadlines are approaching.

The state's construction workers must be fully vaccinated to continue working on site from Saturday.

The controversial mandate, which sparked violent protests across Melbourne in September, requires all tradies to have had two vaccine doses by Saturday, November 13.

The deadline for residential aged care workers is also fast approaching, as they must be fully vaccinated by Monday to continue working.

About one million of Victoria's essential workers will be required to be double-jabbed by November 26.

Anyone with a valid medical exemption will be able to continue working.

The department of health has also noted a change to requirements for fully-vaccinated international travellers and aircrew arriving in the state.

In an update on Twitter, the department said anyone wanting to enter Victoria from overseas must obtain an international vaccination certificate or proof of a medical exemption.

Additionally, those aged over 12 must have tested negative no earlier than 72 hours before departure.

Upon arrival, travellers and crew must be tested within 24 hours and evidence of all of the above must be carried with them for 14 days.

From Monday, private hospital and day procedure centres in Melbourne and Geelong will also be able to scale up to 50 per cent of their elective surgery list.

Non-urgent procedures had been put on hold to increase the state's coronavirus capacity.

Australian Associated Press